First space tourists: mission accomplished!
15 September 2022
A civilian crew aboard SpaceX’s flight mission, Inspiration 4, has returned safely to Earth. The pioneering space travel mission returned home after spending three days in Earth orbit. After orbiting the Earth, the first commercial astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Inspiration 4 mission landed in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday as they returned to the atmosphere. They are the first humans to orbit Earth without professional astronauts, and their journey marks a new chapter in space tourism. How did their mission turn out?
The four amateur astronauts returned safely after a three-day flight. The crew took off into space on Wednesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The shuttle reached a cruising orbit altitude of just over 363 miles (585 km) three hours after takeoff, higher than the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope.
This is the farthest human beings have flown from Earth since NASA’s Apollo lunar exploration program ended in 1972.
On Saturday, the four citizen astronauts donned helmeted flight suits. They made final preparations for the cabin, after which the spacecraft continued its autonomous flight to chart a return path back to Earth’s atmosphere.
How did the crew react?
Their safe return to Earth was met with cheers from those watching the SpaceX control room.
Mission Control told the crew, “Your mission showed the world that space belongs to us.
The trip’s sponsor, billionaire Jared Isaacman, replied that he had paid an undisclosed sum.
Isaacman traveled with a crew of three selected people, and he funded their journey into space.
The crew includes Sian Proctor, 51, a geologist and former NASA astronaut candidate; Haley Arsenault, 29, a physician assistant and childhood bone cancer survivor; and Chris Sembrosky, 42, an aerospace data engineer and Air Force veteran.
The crew will now undergo medical checkups at Kennedy Space Center and be reunited with their families.
SpaceX, founded by Tesla electric car maker CEO Elon Musk, is looking to expand the number of commercial flights into space, with a goal of up to six per year.
Musk also congratulated the crew on their safe return to Earth.