Return trip to Earth is like 'a series of car crashes,' says astronaut

Former NASA astronaut Jack Fischer shares some eye-opening videos that show how dramatic space travel can be.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft landing in Kazakhstan
Enlarge Image
Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft landing in Kazakhstan

The Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft touched down in Kazakhstan on Sept. 3, 2017, with NASA astronaut Jack Fischer on board.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Four years ago, Jack Fischer -- a now-retired NASA astronaut -- came back to Earth from the International Space Station with a ride in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Fischer is reliving his experiences on Twitter, and the posts show just how rough it is to get home from space.

The video shows Fischer, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin tucked into their Soyuz seats in 2017. It's three minutes of shakes, rattles and bumps with time-lapse sections of the reentry and landing.

"Some astronauts compare it to a series of car crashes... and I wouldn't disagree," Fischer tweeted.

We're used to seeing images of astronauts on the ISS floating calmly around in microgravity. Fischer's inside-the-capsule video gives us a very different view of the astronaut experience. It's not all pizza parties and space-gardening.

Fischer also shared a stunning short video with a window view of reentry. "I came home from space four years ago this week, and if you've ever wondered what it looks like when you travel through this atmosphere -- here you go," Fischer said.

Fischer spent over nine years with NASA before returning to the US Air Force in 2018. While the ride from space to might have been on the bumpy side, he seems to be looking back fondly on his time traveling between orbit and Earth.