SpaceX’s manned capsule is not called Dragon for nothing. The two NASA astronauts who returned to Earth on Sunday said they felt like they were inside an animal’s stomach when they threw themselves into the atmosphere at 1
“It came to life,” Mission Director Bob Behnkhen said at a virtual news conference Tuesday in Houston, Texas.
The propelled propellers held the capsule, called “Endeavor”, aimed at its target, off the coast of Pensacola, for the first landing of an American spaceship since 1975.
“The atmosphere is starting to make noise, you can hear that noise outside the ship, and when it tries to control it, you feel a bit of the shaking in your body,” the 50-year-old astronaut continued.
“It does not sound like a machine, it sounds like an animal going through the atmosphere with all kinds coming from propellers and atmospheric noise,” he added.
The descent is not just ears to ears, but every time the ship performs a descent sequence, such as getting rid of the container that held the batteries and triggering the parachutes, there is a jerk in the legs.
“Much like hitting the back of the chair with a baseball bat,” Behnken said, describing the feeling.
Behnken and his crewmate and friend Doug Hurley, 53, both also married to astronauts, spoke to the press two days after returning from a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in late May.
The success of the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, the first manned US space shuttle to enter orbit since the shuttle era, means it will likely be certified for regular service to the ISS.
The next assignment is planned for September.