Mark Shuttleworth

A very inspiring interview on Slashdot with Mark Shuttleworth.

From a shake-your-bones point of view, the re-entry in a Soyuz can't really be beaten. You are coming in at mach 25 when the atmosphere first sucks you in. You see the blackness of space turning a dull red as the heat builds up around your vehicle. The Soyuz is designed to orient itself correctly for re-entry even if it's a dead craft with no attitude control, so you feel the craft swinging around to ensure that the heatshield will take the brunt of it. Then you watch your spacecraft disintegrate and burn up around you, and the G forces build up till you are in the middle of an inferno with the spare hard drives you brought back on your chest weighting a ton, and the Soyuz spinning like a top to try and spread the heat load out evenly on the shield. You watch bolts and other pieces of metal on the outside melt and run liquid across your window before it blisters and blackens. It's an unbelievable display of forces entirely outside of your control wil you, an ant, in the middle of the fireworks display. You know that your survival is totally dependent on the people who put this machine together, that there is nothing you personally can do if it comes apart. It's a hell of a ride.