How the Kazakhstanis met the crew of the ISS that fell from the sky in 2008


Peggy Whitson. Photos of AARP

The Only in Russia microblog has reminded of a bike told by NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in the book “Packing For Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Void”, released in 2010 ( Google Books ). The events described by her are dated 2008: the book talks about September, but according to RSC Energia, the landing took place in April, when Whitson returned to Earth with cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and the first South Korean woman cosmonaut Lee So-Young (Yi Soion).

Then the Soyuz-TMA11 ship began to land from the wrong position, as a result of which the aerodynamic characteristics of the landing were violated and the apparatus (along with the passengers in it) experienced abnormal overloads, recalled Whitson. If the cosmonauts were supposed to feel only a short-term peak load in the 4G, then in this case they were subjected to 8G for a minute, and when they collided with the ground they experienced 10G – it was a hard landing.

Not only did the astronauts suffer a strong blow – by that time, Whitson was in space zero gravity for six months (her total time of weightlessness had already exceeded a year, at that time it was a record among American astronauts). She has lost the habit of weight of her body, however, like her colleagues – and when planted, they scattered upside down modulo “Union” upside down.

The glowing “Union” landed in the Kazakh steppe, and when planted, it ignited the surrounding vegetation. The team was lucky that the wind blew so that eventually the fire departed from the ship and left behind only the burnt field – but the cosmonauts still needed help to get out of the “Union”. They were helped by local residents – that’s how this moment in the footnote of her book was described by the writer Mary Roach from the words of Whitson.

To the surprise of Whitson and her team, help still arrived. Soon after striking the ground, she felt that someone was pulling her out of the capsule.

– I thought: “Cool, our search rescuers are already there.” They put me on the ground next to the cesium altimeter, which was strange, because we were always told to stay away from the cesium altimeter (he is on board the “Union”: the instructions explicitly state that during the landing it is necessary to keep from it at least 5 meters until the antennas come forward, because during this period it emits weak radioactive radiation – note ).So I started looking at the rescuers. One of them wore something that looked literally like a sack sewn to the pants. They were local residents of Kazakhstan. Another spoke Russian. He asked Malenchenko: “Where did this boat come from?” (The flames burned the landing parachutes). And Yuri such: “No, this is a spaceship. We were in space. ” And the guy said to him: “Well, okay.”

Mary Roach
American writer
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