Watch SpaceX livestream Inspiration4 splashdown: Crew Dragon returns
SpaceX safely returned its Crew Dragon spacecraft from orbit on Saturday, with the capsule carrying the four members of the Inspiration4 mission back to Earth after three days in space.
Crew Dragon capsule resilience splashed off Cape Canaveral (Florida), in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX was an amazing ride and we are just beginning! From the capsule, Inspiration4 Commander Jared Isaacman spoke.
SpaceX loaded its capsule onto the recovery ship in less than one hour. The crew then exited and gave thumbs up and waves after getting off the boat. Crew members will then be helicoptered to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center from the spacecraft, which is only a short distance from the splashdown location.
Scott Poteet, Inspiration4’s mission director, joined reporters for a call from SpaceX.
Poteet commented, “The group’s in great spirits. They’re having fun and everybody’s looking forward for reuniting their families.”
Shortly after splashdown, Elon Musk sent his congratulations to all the crew.
The historic private mission — which includes Isaacman, pilot Sian Proctor, medical officer Hayley Arceneaux and mission specialist Chris Sembroski — orbited the Earth at an altitude as high as 590 kilometers, which is above the International Space Station and the furthest humans have traveled above the surface in years. The capsule was a free-flying spaceflight and did not dock with any satellites. Instead, it circled Earth at a speed of 15 orbits each day.
Benji Reed, senior director of SpaceX’s human spaceflight program programs, told reporters that there was an increase in inquiries by potential buyers for private spaceflights. Reed stated that SpaceX could fly five to six private missions per annum.
Reed explained that SpaceX will continue to expand its capability if demand exists.
Reed said that SpaceX also resolved “a couple” of problems during their spaceflight. This included issues with its waste management system (or toilet) onboard. Todd Ericson from Inspiration4 stated that there had been an “issue with a fan” in the toilet, but that it was fixed quickly.
Inspiration4 shared photos from the crew’s time The spacecraft’s “cupola”, which gives a panoramic view of orbit from above, is shown here.
This is the third time SpaceX has returned astronauts from space, and the second time for this capsule – which previously flew the Crew-1 mission for NASA on a trip that returned in May.
The Gulf of Mexico was the location of both previous SpaceX missions. This mission is the first to return in the Atlantic Ocean.
Crew Dragon capsule Resilience was returned to the Crew Dragon crew of Inspiration4. Left to right: Sian Proctor (mission specialist), Jared Isaacman (commander), Hayley Arceneaux (medical officer) and Sian Proctor (pilot).
The mission also comes with multiple other milestones for Musk’s company, including: The first private SpaceX spaceflight, the first entirely nonprofessional crew to become astronauts, the first Black female spacecraft pilot, the youngest American astronaut to date, and the first person to fly in space with a prosthesis.
Isaacman paid Inspiration4 for an undisclosed sum. The spaceflight’s main purpose was to raise $200m for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman is a billionaire entrepreneur who donated $100 million to the spaceflight. The mission had raised $53.8 million more donations by Saturday night, according the mission’s website.
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