Thomas Pesquet is back on earth

Thomas Pesquet is back on earth

The European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on 8 November at 22.33 local time aboard the Crew Dragon capsule with his three colleagues. They spent 199 days and 17 hours in space.

Alpha, Thomas Pesquet’s second mission, lasted 199 days and 17 hours, i.e. three days more than Proxima, his previous mission. Days at the pace of a work schedule timed down to every five minutes to take part in 255 scientific experiments.

The tenth French person in space is also the first European aboard a Crew Dragon capsule. This model, named Endeavour, transported Thomas Pesquet and his colleagues, American Shane Kimbrough and his compatriot, Megan McArthur, as well as Japanese astronaut, Akihiko Hoshide to the ISS on 23 April on the outward journey, then 8 November (Florida time, so 9 November in France) for the return.


On 8 November at 8.05 p.m. (French time), the Crew Dragon Endeavour of the SpaceX company left the International Space Station (ISS). A few hours later, the capsule began its descent into the atmosphere at 27,000 km/h. Because of the speed, the thermal shield was subjected to a temperature of about 1800°C, protecting the four astronauts aboard.

De gauche à droite : Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough et Akihiko Hoshide à bord de la capsule Crew Dragon, pris en photo peu après leur amerrissage par les équipes de récupération.<br /> Crédit : NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

From left to right: Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide aboard the Crew Dragon capsule, photo taken shortly after their splashdown by the recovery teams.
Credit : NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Then the parachutes opened as expected for a splashdown off the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico at 4.33 am on 9 November (22.33 local time on the 8 November). Below, the NASA TV recording of the last phases of the return.

Splashdown is at 1:09:33. The recovery teams then hoisted the capsule aboard the SpaceX ship (acting for NASA as part of a commercial contract) and helped the astronauts out of the Crew Dragon. Thomas Pesquet comes out of the capsule at 2:07:56. Between his two missions he has accumulated 396 days and 11 hours in space.

Thomas Pesquet alors qu’on vient d’aider à le sortir de la capsule. Crédit : NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Thomas Pesquet when he has just been helped out of the capsule.
Credit : NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

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