The science of coming home: the technical process of returning spacecraft and astronauts to Earth.
The mission is complete, the astronauts are on board the Soyuz and it’s time to return to Earth. Here’s where things get technical.
The technology involved in returning spacecraft and astronauts to Earth is constantly evolving but the process of carrying out the return remains a complex scientific and technological challenge.
Mission Control operators have to achieve a fine balance of such elements as aerodynamics, thermal protection, guidance and control, stability, propulsion, and landing systems in order to successfully and safely co-ordinate the return of astronauts to Earth.
In order to ensure that this balance is achieved, it is essential that research is consistently conducted by organisations such as the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate to maintain the possibility of human space flight.
You can read more about the science behind astronauts’ re-entry to Earth in Coming Home: Re-entry and Recovery from Space by Roger D Launius and Dennis R Jenkins