A Soyuz capsule brought Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko back from the ISS last night, landing in Kazakhstan. It was Hadfield's first Soyuz landing, as his previous space flights were on the shuttle. The three men of Expedition 35 had been in space for almost five months.
Bob McDonald, the host of CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks, said the capsule and its crew go through a rapid deceleration as they hurtle back to Earth.
"When they hit the air, they're like a stone hitting water. They're travelling more than 20,000 kilometres an hour.…They have to get rid of all that speed, and they do that just with friction of the air and parachutes."
When the capsule was about 10.7 kilometres high, its parachutes deployed, NASA mission control said. About one second prior to touchdown, two sets of three small engines on the bottom of the Soyuz capsule fired to slow its rate of descent and soften the landing.
After the touchdown, ground crew helped Hadfield and his colleagues out of the Soyuz and put them in chairs so they can begin to re-adapt to gravity.
"[Hadfield's] head is going to feel like a cannonball, his arms are going to feel like logs," McDonald said. "Every time he turns his head the world is going to seem to turn sideways, he's going to get dizzy."
The news story has a much longer video on the landing. Link
Safely home - back on Earth, happily readapting to the heavy pull of gravity. Wonderful to smell and feel Spring.— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) May 14, 2013