With the Comeback Competition over, Hibito's reentry into Earth's atmosphere is just around the corner. Hibito will be returning along with 2 other astronauts in the Orion pod. The pod will use a new parachute system designed by Pico Norton. Everyone is nervous and excited about Hibito's return since the Orion's last mission ended in an accident, killing the astronauts in the pod. Also Hibito is the first Japanese astronaut to land on the Moon.
Those Who Wait for Hibito
The astronauts returning to Earth from the Moon (Hibito, Linda and Damien) are excited. Hibito says he looks forward to riding his bicycle again. Their fellow astronauts staying on the Moon say goodbye for now. Mission Control back on Earth starts coordinating the launch of the Orion off the Moon. The launch is a success and the astronauts start heading back to Earth.
Team E gives their rover "Pieco" to Pico
Meanwhile Pico is at the bar enjoying a few drinks. Team E had given the rover that they built for the Comeback Competition to him. The rover which they named "Pieco" is something for Pico to remember them by. Mutta explained that Pico should remember their faces because one day they will become astronauts and fly in one of Pico's spacecrafts. All that's said and done, Pico is confident that his parachute design can bring home Hibito and the other astronauts safely. On the other hand Mutta keeps the toy lego astronaut that they had riding Pieco and named "Hibito", sort of as a good luck charm and memento of their time working on the rover together.
Sharon and co. watch NASA's live broadcast
Mutta's parents have come to visit him in America. They brought a lot of food for Mutta, but right now Mutta just wants to watch NASA TV to make sure that his brother's flight is going safely. There is a lot of buzz in Japanese news about Hibito's return as the first Japanese to land on the Moon. Mutta figures that once Hibito returns his schedule will be filled with parades, speeches and TV appearances. Mutta isn't sure what to do for his brother when he returns, and feels like he has fallen behind his brother. The next day, Hibito is expected to return. Mutta feels like polishing Hibito's bicycle, so he does. Also Pico dresses up a little more formally today and leaves his hip flask at home.
Hibito and Mutta greet each other
The ASCANs are given a tour of mission control, and the roles of the different staff during missions. In the viewing gallery, Mutta's parents along with Pico, other engineers, Jennifer and others are excitedly awaiting the reentry of the Orion. Pico says that reentry is like a ceremony for heroes which is much different from a launch. After a few tense minutes when the Orion breaks the atmosphere and heats up, the Orion's parachutes successfully deploy and safely lands on Earth. The astronauts are picked up and flown back to Houston, where Mutta and everyone else welcomes them back personally. Hibito and Mutta smile at each other. Hibito throws Mutta a rock (presumably from the Moon) and says he's back.
Points of Interest
- "doki doki" is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a person's heartbeat. Hence the joke "doki doki docking" that Father Nanba makes.
- It is revealed that Pico has two young sons, who are around the same age.
- The toy lego astronaut that Mutta keeps is orange, just like the suit that Hibito wears on his trip back to Earth.