Paolo Nespoli returns to Earth!
ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli is now safely back on Earth, after spending an incredible 139 days in space! Paolo has been living and working onboard the International Space Station, but his mission was coming to an end so it was time for him to return.
Paolo plunged back to Earth inside a Soyuz spacecraft. He was joined by fellow astronauts Randy Bresnik from NASA, and Sergei Ryazansky from Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos. The ride lasted three hours, during which time they had to slow down from their starting speed of 28,800 km/h – 10 times faster than a speeding bullet!
Paolo has now completed three missions to the International Space Station, spending a grand total of 313 days in space. This latest mission is called Vita, which stands for Vitality, Innovation, Technology and Ability. Paolo’s body was studied carefully to see how it would adapt to life in space. His eyes, sleeping patterns, and eating habits were monitored to learn more about how the human body changes. This will help prepare future human missions into space.
The next ESA astronaut to travel to the Station will be Alexander Gerst, scheduled for launch next summer. Would you like to travel into space and conduct exciting experiments?
Cool fact: During his five-month mission, Paolo orbited Earth 2224 times, flew through 35,000 sunrises and sunsets, and travelled 94 million kilometres!