NASA Astronaut Felt A Disturbing ‘Glitch In The Matrix’ While Coming Back To Earth On SpaceX Ship

SpaceX Ship

The NASA and Roscosmos Crew for SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission recently shared their experiences of spending over five months in space before returning to Earth earlier this month. The mission, which launched in October 2022, was carried out by a team of four, including two NASA astronauts, Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. While Wakata had previously flown to space, the remainder of the crew experienced space flight for the first time.

After returning to Earth, the Crew-5 team participated in a press conference where they shared their experiences of living and working in space. One of the most surprising things for the team was how accurately the Russian segment of the International Space Station matched the simulators on the ground, according to cosmonaut Kirkina. Her comments, translated by a translator, were an acknowledgment of the impressive accuracy of the simulations.

During the mission, the Crew Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station multiple times to deliver supplies, conduct scientific experiments, and carry out routine maintenance. The astronauts and cosmonauts described their experiences of working in zero-gravity conditions, including how they adapted to the unique challenges of eating, sleeping, and exercising in space.

Despite the challenges of living in a confined space with no natural light or fresh air, the crew members also spoke about the camaraderie and teamwork that developed between them during their mission. They highlighted the importance of communication, trust, and respect in their successful collaboration, which was essential to the success of their mission.

As their mission came to a close, the Crew-5 team expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such a historic and groundbreaking endeavor. They shared their hope that their experiences will inspire the next generation of scientists and space explorers to continue pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and discovery.

The first thing that really impressed and surprised me when I got on to the ISS right when I flew through the vestibule is that it’s really real, it exists! Here it is. And the second thing is when we got to the Russian segment and I saw everything, I realized that it matches perfectly all of our mockups and all of our simulators and it was really comforting and reassuring because it was like I was seeing something that I had already knew, something that was familiar.

Cosmonaut Kirkina’s experiences with the simulator were shared by NASA’s Cassada, who was surprised at how precisely the sounds inside the Crew Dragon could match those in a ride that simulates reentry on Earth. He also described a strange experience during reentry that, in his words, was akin to a ‘glitch in the matrix.’

The astronaut shared:

For me, you know Nicole’s right, the Gs are a little surprising even if you’re ready for them. But, I took it upon myself to kind of keep everybody aware what the Gs were as we were all doing our own different tasks by just of let them know where we are and where we’re headed. And I remember calling out you know four and a half Gs or so, and for me, it was really strange. My inner started doing it’s thing that it hadn’t done in almost a hockey season. And so I noticed that I had to like lock into the frame of the display, and my eyes kind of did this, it was like the Matrix, it was like a glitch in the Matrix, where I would tumble maybe five degrees and then instantaneously end back up and then tumble five degrees and then kept doing this every two to three seconds.

And then that lasted until we were back down to two and a half or so. So thank goodness it wasn’t permanent. But, I agree that you know it felt to me, it felt very similar to what you would experience in a ride trying to simulate reentry. The sounds of the vehicles, I thought well that clearly someone is playing an audio loop right. This isn’t actually what it sounds like! But it does, it sounds just like doing a ride at big amusement park.

NASA astronaut Mann, also on her first spaceflight, mirrored experiences shared by previous astronauts about what it feels like traveling on the SpaceX Crew Dragon as it returns to Earth. NASA astronaut Victor Glover had shared similar thoughts mid-last year, and Mann described her experiences by outlining:

We’re at what, four days right now? Do we share the secret with them? Gravity is not cool! After being in zero G you come back to gravity and you’re thinking, this is going to be great and it’s not great. It takes you a while to adapt. You know we have trainers that help us, with the strength and the balance. But think we’re four days into it, we’re still a little bit wobbly. But I think to your first question, coming downhill, really the landing wasn’t that significant. But feeling G for the first time. So when we start reentry, we have a G meter we could see the G rise. And we all commented, okay, well, here we are, we’re at half a G, it’s starting to rise.

And like, half a G, holy smokes, it felt like somebody was sitting on your chest and pushing you down and you’re only at half a G. So by the time we were at 4.5 Gs we really were getting smooshed into that seat, we were really focusing on just breathing. You can feel your tongue in the back of your throat and it’s just amazing because it’s so powerful and so strong. Even though you know that’s going to be the profile, it’s still amazing. And then the drogues coming out, and the chutes coming out. These were pretty dynamic events and you’re really swaying around. So by the time you get to splashdown, it’s just poof, you know you splashdown.

Following the successful completion of the Crew-5 mission, the next crew rotation for the International Space Station (ISS) was set to begin with the arrival of the Crew-6 astronauts. The Crew-6 team arrived at the space station a few days before the departure of the previous crew, giving them time to get acquainted with their new home in space and adjust to the unique challenges and opportunities of living and working in a zero-gravity environment.

The Crew-6 mission is an important milestone in the continued exploration and utilization of the ISS. This team of astronauts is tasked with conducting a wide range of scientific experiments and technology demonstrations during their full-duration stay on the space station. These experiments will help researchers better understand the effects of long-term spaceflight on the human body and test new technologies that could be used to support future space exploration missions.

In addition to their scientific duties, the Crew-6 astronauts will also be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ISS, including maintenance, repairs, and communications with mission control on Earth. They will work closely with the ground team to ensure that the station remains a safe and productive environment for the duration of their mission.

As their time on the ISS comes to an end, the Crew-6 astronauts will prepare for their journey back to Earth. This will involve a carefully choreographed sequence of events, including undocking from the space station, re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, and landing safely on the ground. The crew will receive extensive training and support to ensure that they are prepared for every stage of the journey, from launch to landing.

Overall, the Crew-6 mission is a testament to the remarkable achievements of the International Space Station program and the dedicated teams of scientists, engineers, and astronauts who make it possible. As we continue to push the boundaries of human exploration and discovery, the ISS will remain a critical platform for advancing our understanding of the universe and our place within it.

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