The first SpaceX capsule with only “space tourists” returned safely | science and planet

A SpaceX capsule with four American tourists on board fell into the Atlantic at night from Saturday to Sunday, just after 1 a.m. as planned. This concludes with the success of the first space mission with only non-professional astronauts on board.


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Four large parachutes slowed down the Dragon Capsule’s descent before it descended into the water. The boats immediately set off to retrieve the craft. “Congratulations, Inspiration4,” SpaceX President Elon Musk tweeted after landing on the water.

Photo of a SpaceX rocket landing with space tourists off the coast of Florida. © via Reuters

Three days around the earth

The spacecraft, carrying four civilians on board, took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. In all, the members of the “Inspiration4” mission circled the Earth for three days, at a distance of up to 590 kilometers at a speed of about 28,000 kilometers per hour. Each day, space tourists saw up to 15 sunrises and sunsets. Farther from the Earth’s surface than the International Space Station, which orbits the Earth at 420 kilometers.

“Inspiration4” was the first fully commercial manned spaceflight, its occupants were private individuals without a professional or institutional astronaut orbiting our planet for the first time, and their flight was preceded by only six months of training.

Space tourists from the SpaceX rocket. © AFP


They were 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman – a civilian pilot who also has experience in combat aircraft and served as mission commander – and 29-year-old civilian pilot and geology professor Sian Proctor. Arsenault — a medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee — and 42-year-old data engineer Chris Sembrowski.

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During their trip — which will be the subject of a Netflix documentary — the quartet conducted some health experiments that SpaceX has paid for, among others. They also set up activities for the care of St. Jude’s Hospital. Talks with actor Tom Cruise and SpaceX founder Elon Musk were also on the agenda, as were the virtual ringing of the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

The third billionaire

Isaac, who funded the mission, is the third billionaire to go into space from the United States in a matter of months. In July, he was preceded by Briton Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) and ten days later Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin). They made a short trip into space and only stayed there for a few minutes and at a much lower altitude.

After they landed by sea, SpaceX picked up the four space tourists, then flew them by helicopter to the Kennedy Space Center. “It’s been a great ride for us, and we’re just getting started,” Isaacman said shortly after landing.

SpaceX’s next full commercial flight is scheduled to begin in January 2022, when the US space company launches three businessmen into space.

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