Soyuz capsule landing

I was reading this article on and I don’t understand how this can work. Obviously, this is how they’ve done it since the beginning, but landing on the ground instead of in water seems impossible. The shuttle has to use it’s whole underside along with all those wide “esses” to slow down. These guys are in a small compartment that is going to fall straight down and fire some rockets 2 seconds before they hit the ground? WTF? Why will there not be a massive crater in Kazakhstan?

The soyuz will hit atmosphere and then slow down via friction and then deploy parachutes ala the gemini capsule and the apollo capsule, as soon as the capsule reaches a certain point above ground , it drops the heat shield and the retro rockets fire to brake it so it just thumps down on the ground.


“In 42 years of manned Russian spaceflight, two missions have ended in tragedy”

Why have I heard of many more? I seem to remember hearing something about amateur radio guys listening in on one doomed cosmonaut’s moaning and breathing, as well as many other accidents that don’t get talked about.

The amatuer radio tale appears to have been a hoax. Other tales of dead cosmonauts seem to be either made up, or confision with non-space-flight-related accidents.

Key Words:

Thump Down

Not much fun if you ask me.

[qoute]Why have I heard of many more?

I think a good majority were during un-manned space flights. I’m pretty sure they lost many, many unmanned ships in early launches.

Cecil writes:

about cosmonauts landing on land instead of water

about stranded cosmonauts

First of all, the Shuttle typically weighs 200,000 lb at landing. The Soyuz landing module is about 7,000 lb, which means 30 times less kinetic energy.

On both spacecraft, almost all the kinetic energy is turned into heat by friction/compression with the air. The Shuttle flies as a glider and does a series of curves while the friction robs enough speed to allow landing. The Soyuz simply opens parachutes to slow down enough for a landing. The jets are only used to soften the final jolt - think of them as a substitute for a skydiver’s legs which can bend to absorb the final shock, or a sbustitute for water which is somewhat softer than the ground. (But not by much, which you’ll know if you’ve ever messed up a dive in a swimming pool.)