Tim Peake Heading Home
After spending six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) Major Tim Peake is packing his bags and saying his final goodbyes, for tomorrow he will return to Earth.
At around 03:00 BST on Saturday, Tim, along with colleagues, Yuri Malenchenko and Timothy Kopra will strap themselves into a Soyuz capsule which will bring them home.
The journey itself is an amazing feat of engineering - as the capsule begins to pass through the Earth’s atmosphere (at an altitude of around 100km), travelling at a massive 25 times the speed of sound, it will have to endure temperatures of around 1600 degrees Celsius. In fact the temperatures will be so great that the vast majority of the Soyuz will burn up in the atmosphere, leaving only the well-protected descent module to continue the journey towards Earth. Finally, at an altitude of around 10.7km, parachutes will open and slow the descent module sufficiently to land safely in Kazakhstan at around 10:15am (BST).
For those of you planning to watch the pictures live, don’t panic when you see the astronauts having to be carried from the module, this is to be expected as one of the effects of spending time in a zero-gravity environment is muscle wastage and a reduction in bone density. However, I’m sure Tim will be back on his feet soon and planning his next adventure!
FAO: Tim Peake
After inspiring so many school children during your stay, everyone here at the National Schools’ Observatory would like to join the rest of the world in saying thank you and wishing you a safe journey home. Well done Tim!