After spending three days about 360 miles above the ground, the all-civilian crew of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 returned to Earth. Their Crew Dragon capsule slowed to 15 miles per hour when it landed under four parachutes and landed at 7:07 p.m. east off the Atlantic coast of Florida, not far from where they launched Wednesday night.
“Welcome home to planet Earth. Your mission has shown the world that space is for all of us and that ordinary people can have tremendous impacts on the world around them, ”said AndX Tran, a quality SpaceX engineer who co-hosted the company’s live control mission. in Hawthorne, California.
“Thank you very much SpaceX, it was a great trip for us,” said the voice of Commander Jared Isakman. “We’re just getting started!”
“Copying is just beginning,” Tran said.
Their landing location depended on the weather and ocean conditions that cooperated with their plans: The sky was clear of storms and the water was not shaky. SpaceX is also coordinating with the Coast Guard to ensure safety in the area and prevent boatmen from entering the scattering area, as they did last year when two American astronauts scattered in a SpaceX capsule in the Gulf of Mexico.
SpaceX personnel quickly approached the Inspiration4 capsule aboard small boats to retrieve the astronauts and land them. The recovery process is expected to take about an hour. From there, the crew will undergo some medical examinations, head to a private party, and finally return home.
“This is the beginning of the private space tourism industry, beyond the suborbital things we saw this summer. It’s not like five minutes, a little moment of microgravity and it’s over. That’s a lot more of what the public understands as space tourism, “said Jordan Beam, a space historian at the University of Chicago.
The Dragon Manifesto includes a payment to client Isakman, CEO of billionaire payment processing company Shift4Payments, and three people whose tickets he sponsors: Sian Proctor, a geologist and artist; Chris Sembroski, aeronautical engineer; and Hailey Arseno, a medical assistant. Proctor is the fourth African-American to go into space, and Arseno went down in history as the first space traveler with a prosthetic body. She is a bone cancer survivor and was once a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, for a non-profit purpose for which the Inspiration4 team aims to raise at least $ 200 million, a goal that is now almost reached.
Although the Dragon flies autonomously, both Proctor and Isakman, who are not professional astronauts, still have training that would allow them to steer the capsule if necessary. The crew was busy as they orbited the Earth 15 times a day: Isakman monitored the spacecraft’s systems and kept in touch with mission management. Arceneaux is conducting medical research on the health effects of cosmic radiation and extremely low levels of gravity, which can have an effect on vision. In collaboration with field researchers at Baylor College and Cornell University, crew members collected biological samples and biomedical data from each other during the flight, observing their heart rates, blood oxygen saturation and sleep, among other things. Arseno also imaged the eyes and other organs of his crews using a handheld ultrasound scanner called the Butterfly IQ +, an artificial intelligence device that is also being tested on the International Space Station.
Proctor brought pens, ink, markers, and watercolors, though she wasn’t sure how well they would work in a near-zero gravity environment. She focused on her metal markers to make artwork on the second day of their flight. “Here is my performance of the dragon capsule carried by a dragon from Earth,” Proctor said, keeping his drawing during an update to orbit on Friday.