Flight day 10
When we undock the next day it is the pilot BillyO who is at the helm. His flight path for us is first straight out from the Space Station in the direction of our orbit around the Earth. After 100 m he starts to swing us up over the ISS and we then do a circuit around the Station at a distance of approximately 200 m.
Many of us take photographs and video footage. These pictures with the whole of the International Space Station in front of the Earth in the background are extremely popular.
After our circuit we fire off a larger rocket thrust and depart rapidly from the ISS. Left behind on board the Space Station are Sunni with Mike and Micha, while Thomas returns with us.
Flight day 11
Preparing for landing
During flight day 11 we can take it a little easier while we prepare as much as we can for the next day's landing. Everything we don’t need anymore is stowed away and the orange spacesuits that we wear for the launch and landing are brought out. The seats are installed again.
Thomas, who has experienced six months of weightlessness, has a special seat where he can lie down. In space the body doesn’t have to fight against gravity to maintain blood pressure in the head, by the so called orthostatic system. So this system is desensitised and you can easily faint if you even sit up when the G-forces affect the body again. It is even worse when you stand up and there are examples of people who, even after a short time in space have blacked-out when they have come out of the spacecraft and stood up.
The others of us, who have only been weightless for ten days, but who will sit up, wear G-suits under the spacesuits which, by pressing on the legs and around the waist, help to force the blood up into the skull.
A last press conference is held from space during the day.
Last update: 26 October 2006