Reentry Into Earth’s Atmosphere: A Space Capsule’s POV

Amazing video footage released by Varda Space Industries provides a unique, first-person perspective of a spacecraft’s journey home, from its disconnection from the parent satellite to its intense reentry and a somewhat rough touchdown on Earth. The W-1 capsule devised by Varda landed safely on the Utah Test and Training Range, a military-grade zone, marking a pioneering occasion for a private firm on February 21. The capsule had remained in low Earth orbit for approximately eight months prior, waiting for the necessary governmental clearances for a homecoming on US soil, as per reports.

The company released the raw video clip on X, showing their capsule piercing through the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of mach 25 and added a comprehensive 28-minute video on YouTube, capturing the entire journey of W-1 from LEO back to Earth. Varda has been working in alliance with Rocket Lab for its mission. The goal is to establish compact laboratories capable of manufacturing medicines while in orbit. For this specific mission, the focus was on ritonavir, an HIV drug.

The W-1 capsule was joined to Rocket Lab’s Photon satellite “bus”, which was expected to supply power, facilitate communication and control altitude for the capsule. After successfully setting up the capsule for the reentry last week, Photon perished in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to SpaceNews. Now that the capsule has arrived, the ritonavir crystals grown in space will be scrutinized by Improved Pharma, a pharmaceutical firm based in Indiana.