SpaceX’s first all-civilian crew has splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean following a three-day trip to orbit. The four members of the space tourism crew are healthy and well and their mission has surpassed its fundraising goal for research into childhood cancer.
The Inspiration4 mission aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon splashed down off the coast of Florida at 7:06 p.m. ET (4:06 p.m. PT) on Saturday, September 18, from where the crew was collected by a recovery vessel and brought back to dry land. The Dragon vehicle was also collected by the recovery ship Go Searcher and will be transported back to Cape Canaveral for inspection and future reuse.
The mission, launched on Wednesday, September 15, has attracted considerable interest for its crew who are not professional astronauts. The crew consists of billionaire CEO Jared Issacman who paid for the trip and commanded the mission, plus physician and childhood cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, geologist and entrepreneur Sian Proctor, and Air Force veteran Chris Sembroski.
One of the aims of the mission was to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a pediatric cancer research hospital where Arceneaux works. The goal was to raise $200 million; a feat which was achieved yesterday with the help of a $50 million pledge from SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk.
In addition to fundraising, according to SpaceX the mission also achieved several historical firsts. As well as being the first all-civilian crew to fly in orbit, these markers include Proctor being the first Black female spacecraft pilot, Arceneaux being the youngest American to fly in space and the first person to fly to space with a prosthetic (she has a rod in her leg from treatment for her childhood cancer), and the Dragon spacecraft having the largest contiguous window ever flown in space.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 18, 2021
If you missed watching the splashdown as it happened, you can still view the footage by heading to SpaceX’s YouTube channel where the two-hour splashdown stream is still available to view. And for even more about the mission, including information about how the crew trained for their trip and planned interviews with them now they are home, there is a Netflix documentary series all about the mission.
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