October 26, 2021

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SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission returns to Earth

SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission returns to Earth

(CNN Español) – the mission Inspiration 4 A SpaceX flight – the first orbital flight fully manned by tourists – successfully landed off the coast of Florida on Saturday night.

The return of Inspiration4 marks the end of the first trip into Earth orbit by tourists or non-astronauts.

After spending three days orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a dedicated 575-kilometre flight path, the four fledglings returned to Earth’s atmosphere aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule.

Returning from orbit, the Crew Dragon’s outside temperatures can reach 1,926 degrees Celsius, and astronauts will experience 4.5 gigabytes of force propelling them into their seats, all as the increasingly dense atmosphere collides with the capsule.

During the Netflix documentary about the Inspiration4 mission, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described the capsule going through the re-entry as “like entering a blazing meteor.”

“That is why it is difficult not to evaporate,” he added.

Inspiration 4: SpaceX’s unique space mission 1:13

The Inspiration4 crew has spent the past three days flying freely aboard their 3.9-meter-wide capsule at an altitude of nearly 563 kilometers, 160 kilometers higher than where the International Space Station is, and more than any human has seen in decades.

During the three-day journey, the Dragon capsule circled the Earth about 50 times.

Although they’re not the first tourists to travel to orbit, the Inspiration4 mission is noteworthy because it didn’t involve a stay on the International Space Station (ISS) under the supervision of professional astronauts, as previous missions with space tourists have done.

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The civilian crew on Inspiration4 includes 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isakman, who personally funded and organized the flight with SpaceX and Musk; Hayley Arsenault, 29, childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Sian Proctor, 51, geologist and community college teacher, Ph.D.; And Chris Sembrowski, a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee and lifelong space fanatic, got his seat through an online scholarship.

Jared Isakman, Hayley Arsenault, Christopher Sembrowski, and La Dra. Sian Proctor. Credito: Inspiration4 / SpaceX

CNN’s Jackie Wattles and Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.