by Michael Wright
Local space enthusiasts have an opportunity to see and touch the capsule that returned entrepreneur and space tourist, Greg Olson, to Earth after his 2005, 8-day stay at the International Space Station. The three-man craft is on display at Princeton Marketfair until October 18, 2011 after which it will be permanently installed at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum in New York City.
Like the US’s Apollo spacecraft, Russia’s Soyuz crafts have three modules: orbital, descent and services modules. The bell-shaped capsule on display is the descent module of Soyuz TMA-6, which contains the crew launch and entry couches, spacecraft controls and parachutes. It is 2.2 meters in diameter and weighs two tons. A heat-shield protects the module during re-entry. Also, the spacecraft has several retro rockets that fire moments before touchdown to soften the landing.
The AAAP was fortunate to have Mr. Olson speak to us in 2009 about training for his trip and living on the ISS.