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Ballistic Descent Mode: What It Was Like to Fall to Earth When the Soyuz Launch Failed

via Science Alert

Last week, NASA astronaut Air Force Colonel Nick Hague faced death as he and his commander, Alexei Ovchinin, plummeted to Earth following an aborted Soyuz launch.

Outside, the world held its breath as the spacecraft returned in what NASA called a “ballistic descent mode“. Inside the tiny capsule, according to Hague, things got pretty rough.

“We knew that if we wanted to be successful, we needed to stay calm and we needed to execute the procedures in front of us as smoothly and efficiently as we could,” Hague told The Associated Press.

It’s the kind of event pilots prepare for while hoping they never need to put it into practice.

Minutes after launch, following the jettisoning of side boosters, a second stage booster on Ovchinin and Hague’s Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft system failed, leaving them no option but to abort the mission barely halfway to the edge of space.

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