Early in the night of flight day 6 a short midcourse maneuver was scheduled. A short burn of only 14 sec duration was performed at 00:53 am CEST with help of the backup thrusters controlled remotely from the ground based on the latest trajectory analysis. Besides from improving the trajectory for the return to Earth this maneuver was also a test of the backup thrusters and remote controlling from the ground. Both tests were successful. The remote control of the maneuver had also the advantage that Mausonaut did not need to interrupt the sleeping phase.
In the morning hours of flight day 6 Mausonaut was tasked to perform tests of the small maveuvring engines. There are 24 of these engines distributed around the surface of the European Service Module. Testing them all needed more than 3 hours. All engines performed nominally.
There were no other tasks scheduled for the rest of flight day 6. Therefore Mausonaut was able to enjoy some leisure time.
After the final night in space Mausonaut was tasked to perform the final midcourse correction early on flight day 7. At about 08:38 a 22 sec burn of the main engine was initiated to optimize the course for re-entry.
After this final maneuver the spaceship was on the right track for re-entering the Earth atmosphere later in the day. For a safe re-entry it was necessary to separate the Crew Module (CM) from the European Service Module (ESM). This separation maneuver was performed at 01:04 pm. Now the heatshield was exposed to space for the first time. Before separation the adapter connecting SM and CM was enclosing the entire heatshield.
Mausonaut was able to shoot some footage from the separation event via an deployed mini satellite equipped with a camera. Unfortunately the mini satellite was not able to follow the Crew Module on the re-entry path due to its limited maneuverability.
The European Service Module was continuing to fly on a separate course and was destroyed during re-entry. It served the mission very well.
The final phase of re-entering the atmosphere started about 2 pm CEST. Mausonaut was noticing first friction forces starting to shake the crew capsule. The turbulent part of the re-entry had started. Parts of the heatshield were melting due to the extreme heat developing due to friction with the atmosphere. At about 2:16 pm CEST communication between the CM and the ground station was lost as expected for about 6 minutes.
Shortly after reestablishing communications Mausonaut was able to confirm the opening of the parachute. The most critical phase of the re-entry was over. Under the parachute the crew capsule was slowly touching down at 2:29 pm CEST in the region Serra de Can Mas in North-Eastern Spain. The MoonDot mission had successfully ended after 5 days, 22 hours and 55 minutes.
The recovery crew was approaching the capsule and Mausonaut was carefully extracted. Mausonaut was welcomed by his best friend, the elephant. 😉
The Mission Director