Four SpaceX tourists returned to Earth from a three-day extra-terrestrial excursion on Saturday evening, marking the end of the first-ever flight to Earth’s orbit flown entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts.
SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off coast Florida.
“After orbiting Earth for three days, four astronauts of Inspiration4 flying aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off coast Florida, US today, marking the completion of world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit,” said SpaceX.
“Thanks so much, SpaceX, it was a heck of a ride for us,” billionaire and mission commander Jared Isaacman could be heard saying over the company’s live stream, reported CNN.
The tourists were shown watching movies and occasionally heard responding to SpaceX’s mission control inside their fully autonomous spacecraft before it began the nail-biting process of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
During a Netflix documentary about the Inspiration4 mission, SpaceX and its CEO, Elon Musk described a capsule going through reentry as “like a blazing meteor coming in.”
“And so it’s hard not to get vaporized,” he added.
The passengers included the 38-year-old Isaacman, who personally financed and arranged the trip with Musk; Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a childhood cancer survivor and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital physician assistant; Sian Procotor, 51, a geologist and community college teacher with a PhD; and Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee and lifelong space fan who claimed his seat through an online raffle, reported sources.