British astronaut Tim Peake shared an incredible photo on Twitter recently, showing people what re-entering Earth looks like, tying in with the moment SpaceX's first ever manned spacecraft made its triumphant return.
The SpaceX Dragon Capsule landed in the Gulf of Mexico, just south of Pensacola on Florida's Gulf coast, earlier this week, bringing NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley home safely after their historic two-month mission at the International Space Station.
While most of us will never know what it's like to travel to space - unless you've got a spare $250,000 (£193,000) to fly with Virgin Galactic, of course - thankfully those who have been on the odd cosmic trip or two have been good enough to tell us all about it, including your boy Tim Peake.
Sharing the photo to his 1.5 million followers, the 48-year-old astronaut wrote: "This is the view during re-entry, as temperatures outside reach around 1900C and g-loads build up to 4 or 5g. The atmosphere is essentially your air brake for several minutes."
This is the view during reentry, as temperatures outside reach around 1900C and g-loads build up to 4 or 5g. The atmosphere is essentially your air brake for several minutes. https://t.co/2IGtJaHAN3 #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/BwBfcMal2P
- Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) August 2, 2020
The new Crew Dragon spaceship was launched into the cosmos at the end of May on a Falcon 9 rocket.
As Hurley and Behnken arrived home on 2 August, Hurley was heard saying: "It's truly our honour and privilege."
SpaceX mission control replied with: "On behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams, welcome back to Planet Earth. Thanks for flying SpaceX."
The aircraft's return marks the last step in the mission designed to test SpaceX's commercial spaceflight carrier, including launch, docking, splashdown and recovery operations.
So long as the landing goes to plan, this will mark a new era for NASA, taking the space agency one step closer to making commercial space travel a reality.
Previously, NASA did everything in-house, but has since shifted its philosophy, saying it plans to outsource operations like this. In turn this will save billions of dollars, which can be redirected into getting people to Mars and the Moon.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said: "We don't want to purchase, own and operate the hardware the way we used to.
"We want to be one customer of many customers in a very robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit. But we also want to have numerous providers that are competing against each other on cost and innovation and safety, and really create this virtuous cycle of economic development and capability."
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