The Shenzhou Parachute is what allowed Dr. Ryan Stone to return to Earth since the Soyuz Capsule's Parachute was accidentally deployed, making re-entry impossible.

Role in GravityEdit

As they approached the ISS, it is clear that the ISS crew evacuated due to the debris field causing damage. One Soyuz module for delivering the ISS's crew and returning them to Earth is missing, used by the ISS's crew to evacuate the station. The other Soyuz module was damaged and it's landing parachute was deployed as a result. It became clear that the remaining Soyuz module cannot return them to Earth safely.</p>

As they approached the ISS, they realized that they had almost no air left and only one thruster burst remaining in Kowalski's pack. They bounced off the many parts of the ISS as they attempted to grab on at their accelerated speed relative to the station. Stone is able to grab onto the ISS for a moment, however, Kowalski's momentum yanked Stone away from the ISS. As they both bounced off the ISS further, a solar wing that they passed severed the tether holding the two together. At the last moment, Stone became entangled in the parachute cords connected to the ISS and is able to grab hold of the tether connected to Kowalski. His additional mass stretched the parachute cords causing the two of them to nearly break free. He sacrificed himself for her survival and unclipped his strap, floating away. She floated easily back to the ISS now. Kowalski is still in radio contact with her, asking Stone about her minimal piloting training and instructed Stone to use the Soyuz capsule to travel to a nearby Chinese space station called the Tiangong. Kowalski said that even if the Chinese evacuated, she can use a return module that is based on the design of the Soyuz and Stone's limited training will get her home safely.

Stone boarded the ISS which was damaged, but still had breathable air. Stone made her way to the Soyuz module, but a fire started from sparking wires aboard the ISS. She tried vainly to put out the fire and finally got aboard the Soyuz. Once aboard, Stone undocked the module and proceeded to fire the thruster, but the parachute cables are tangled, keeping the Soyuz from getting free. Stone put on one of the Soyuz spacesuits and spacewalked outside to release the parachute cables from the capsule. 90 minutes passed and during the spacewalk, the satellite debris approached again, impacting with the ISS and the Soyuz. Stone barely made it inside the Soyuz in time, just as the debris field impacted and destroyed the ISS.

Stone went over the emergency manual and used the thrusters to line the Soyuz up with the Tiangong. She attempted to fire the main Soyuz rocket to navigate to the Tiangong; however, the fuel tanks are empty. She used all of the thrust in an attempt to get untangled from the parachute. Stone tried to use the Soyuz radio to contact Earth, but she is only able to reach a farmer who did not speak English on a short wave frequency. Stone resigned herself to her fate of dying and turned off the oxygen flow in the cabin to hasten her eventual suffocation from carbon dioxide poisoning. She began to fall asleep, running out of oxygen when she saw a vision of Kowalski outside the capsule. Kowalski entered the capsule to Stone's amazement. Stone told him that there is no fuel left for the main rocket, but Kowalski, ever the optimist told Stone that the capsule still had re-entry rockets for a touchdown procedure. These will be just as useful for navigating to the Tiangong.

Kowalski is suddenly gone and Stone realized that she hallucinated him in her oxygen-deprived state. She turned the oxygen flow back on in the Soyuz and implemented the information about the landing thrusters that she remembered from her hallucination, firing the thrusters, making her way to the Tiangong. Realizing that she is going to miss the station by several dozen meters, Stone picked up a fire extinguisher and opened the Soyuz hatch while the capsule is still pressurized, blowing her across the distance. She navigated to the Tiangong using the fire extinguisher as a makeshift thruster. Stone boarded the Tiangong just as the entire station, pushed out of it's stable orbit by the satellite debris started to burn up on the upper edge of the atmosphere. Stone successfully entered the re-entry commands in the Chinese capsule Shenzhou's computer and the Shenzhou began it's descent toward Earth. On the way down, Stone heard Mission Control over the radio tracking the capsule while rescue teams are being dispatched.

The Shenzhou's parachute activated and the capsule splashed down in a lake in an uninhabited part of the Earth. Stone opened the capsule hatch, but the water rushing in nearly drowned her, pinning her against the back wall. Once the water pressure equalized, she swam out, but sank with the weight of her spacesuit. She successfully slipped out of her spacesuit and swam to the surface with the last of her breath. She swam to shore watching the remains of the Tiangong and other satellite debris as they burned up high in the sky overhead. Stone pulled herself ashore with difficulty and took her first shaky steps on dry land, gradually adjusting to the Earth's gravity.