Coming Home

Usually I try to find videos that are interesting on their own merits. This one is interesting because of how boring it is. 

Below is real-time footage of the reentry of the Artemis I mission Orion capsule, taken from the unmanned craft looking 180 degrees away from the direction of travel and thus directly into the reentry cone. 

We’ve seen this in scores of movies, but what I found interesting enough to comment on was how little time the spacecraft actually spends during the MaxD segment of the flight — MaxD being an entirely made-up term meant to sound like MaxQ, or maximum aerodynamic pressure on the vehicle, which is very real indeed.

MaxD,’ or Maximum Dramatic Impact is remarkably short — well less than a minute (although this being an ablative heat shield, MaxD is likely longer but with less D with heat tiles). The real benefit of this video is to give you an unedited-for-MaxD version of what coming home from space really looks and sounds like.

And, of course, a hat-tip to our friends at Boeing and NASA for their brilliant STS design, which spends a mere $13,000,000,000 to throw away formerly reusable Space Shuttle Main Engines in order to supply us with this magnificent platform for a GoPro camera. The SLS, Artemis and Orion hardware remains at the absolute bleeding edge of mid-to-late 20th Century technology. Thanks guys! Looking forward to your planned de-orbit of the ISS in a few years! I’m sure that will exceed the Artemis MaxD by an order of magnitude.

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Mark Hunn
December 23, 2023 4:46 PM

The camera was facing the wrong way when Kenny died. But to be fair it would be a little more interesting If I was sitting in there wondering if I was going to die over a technical glitch.

Phil LeMay
December 19, 2023 11:08 AM

C’mon, Bill! Be a little careful there.
Your scorn dripped all over my work computer!

Road Rider
December 18, 2023 1:41 PM

I’m day 15 into this insane cold-virus going around.  Been off work 2 weeks just sick as a dog. Sunday I finally turn on the tablet to look around, and after looking at a SpaceX video about Monday’s Falcon Heavy launch, this was the next video to pop up. The algorithm can sometimes be very very clever…. Destin of Smarter Every Day did presentation to an Aerospace group filled with engineers and decision makers from Nasa and suppliers. Destin feels Artemis and Nasa have a problem and it’s not technology….it’s communication. And his offering to these new age engineers trying to get this enormously complicated system called… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Road Rider
Karl Schweitzer
Reply to  Road Rider
December 18, 2023 4:50 PM

I have watched Destin’s videos, though not on a regular basis. Haven’t watched this one yet but it was on the list. Might have to bump it up the list, though thankfully I don’t have the excuse of illness to go on a binge just yet.
Hang in there RR.