What It's Like to Ride a 'Lightning Bolt' Home From Space, According to a 'Hoo Who Did It

In a Facebook Live session, Darden grad Scott Tingle discussed life onboard the International Space Station and his harrowing return to Earth.

Scott Tingle is back from space, and he has some amazing stories to tell.

The NASA astronaut, who completed the Executive Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business in 2015, recently returned from a six-month mission to the International Space Station, where he joined astronauts around the world in executing more than 200 science, operations and maintenance projects onboard.

It was Tingle’s first space flight – the culmination of years of training for the decorated U.S. Navy pilot – and he was thrilled with the experience.

“It was completely surreal,” he said of looking down on Earth from space.

Tingle joined UVA for a Facebook Live session Tuesday, where he discussed everything from how easy it is to fall asleep in space (it’s so quiet!) to some of his favorite experiments, like operating a Munich-based robot named Justin all the way from the space station, or growing lettuce onboard, proving that humans can feed themselves in space.

Check it out below, and don’t miss his dramatic retelling of the fiery journey home, which he describes as “like being in the middle of a lightning bolt or a huge forest fire.”

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Caroline Newman

Senior Writer and Assistant Editor of Illimitable Office of University Communications