Which is the most dangerous stage of a manned spaceflight?

Now and then, brave astronauts pierce the boundary of our planet to visit outer space. Just like what we see in movies, there is no gravity or weight in space. There is zero force of attraction between objects. Therefore, once a spaceship is out of the reach of the earth’s gravity, it becomes weightless.

This phenomenon is very cool to imagine. But in reality, this little trip is full of danger. Even with very high training, an unexpected event could happen that can make this experience a life-threatening one. Indeed, to think about flying so high can produce a sense of excitement. But on the other hand, it can be seriously dangerous as well. 

Even though the whole process can be pretty intimidating, the end of spaceflight is the time when the astronauts aboard are exposed to the greatest danger. As discussed, to reach outer space, we have to overcome the power of gravity. But at the time of return, this force of gravity is multiplied a thousand times. The spacecraft has to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere from space. At this point, it is traveling very fast, and due to the earth’s gravitation, the speed increases rapidly. 

The firing speed, along with the heavy forces of gravity produces so much power that it gets out of control. As the spacecraft rushes into the atmosphere, a huge amount of heat is produced. This is due to the air friction that resists the entrance of the craft into the earth’s surface. This heats the outside of the machine, which becomes a fireball. Only the heat-resistant shield prevents it from burning up like a meteor. The astronauts have to maneuver the spacecraft in such a way that the heat shield strikes the air. One wrong move and the whole thing blows up in the air. 

All the astronauts have to go through a strict training process in order to learn crucial points. Other than gravity, they have to be careful about the angle of re-entry as well. If the angle is too steep, the friction would be so much that the spacecraft may burn up despite having the protective shield. If the angle is too shallow, the spacecraft will behave like a flat-bottomed stone skipping on the lake’s surface and may bounce back into space — never to return.

Keeping everything in mind, one can definitely say that becoming an astronaut is not a piece of cake. It also proves that whatever they show in movies is not always correct. So, if you thought that being an astronaut is easy, think again.

If you want to experience the good parts of spaceflight like weightlessness, you can visit certain centers that offer such services. Many places let you experience the feeling of weightlessness in a capsule. This way, not only will you have fun, but you will also develop a sense of respect for the people who put their life at stake for all of us.

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