If you thought sitting on an airplane for four hours was bad, check out this photo showing the Soyuz TMA-13M crew in the re-entry module of the Soyuz spacecraft. Not only do these astronauts (Alexander Gerst, Max Suraev and Reid Wiseman, from left to right) get to sit tight for a grueling three and a half hours, they also get to heat up, get bumped around, feel like their bodies have just had weights attached to every limb, and then slam into the cold flatlands of Kazakhstan on their return to Earth:
The tight fit in this photo, taken during a training session a week before their departure, is not unlike the margin of error they’re allowed in most of their functions—next to none. Every action taken has to be checked and rechecked, and the slightest mistake could cause any number of catastrophes, from merely missing their re-entry point to burning up in the atmosphere. On an up note, it could also be symbolic of the tight friendship the many of the astronauts create with their fellow crew members.
For a deeper look inside the experience an astronaut goes through returning home in a Soyuz capsule, check out this video:
The photo and video above certainly give you new appreciation for relatively roomy airplane seats and smooth landings.
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