• Question: If you were coming back from space, how would you know where you are meant to land?

    Asked by shannoeaza to Helen on 21 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Helen Johnson

      Helen Johnson answered on 21 Nov 2014:

      Great question! I think scientists are just able to really precisely calculate where and when a spacecraft is going to land, before it does, based on its orbit and any fuel it’s burned up to change course. The manned missions like space shuttle launches were able to be controlled on the way down, to land on a runway like a plane. Unmanned missions or ones with less control over their trajectory tend to be designed to land in the ocean, so that if anything goes wrong no one back on Earth is hurt.