Space

First all-private crewed orbital mission returns to Earth

First all-private crewed orbit...
Inspiration4 splashing down
Inspiration4 splashing down
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Inspiration4 splashing down
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Inspiration4 splashing down
Diagram of the Resiliance capsule
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Diagram of the Resiliance capsule
Inside Resiliance prior to reentry
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Inside Resiliance prior to reentry
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Inspiration4, the first all-private crewed mission into space, has returned to Earth. The Crew Dragon capsule chartered by billionaire Jared Isaacman from SpaceX splashed down today in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at 7:07 pm EDT after three days in orbit.

Today's splashdown marks the end of the historic mission that was the first time a privately owned and operated spacecraft on a private charter flew into space with a crew that did not involve any government astronauts. Inside the reusable Resilience capsule were Mission Commander Jared Isaacman, Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, and Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist.

During the three-day mission that began on September 15, 2021 when it launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the spacecraft reached an altitude of of 575 km (357 miles), making it the highest-flying crewed mission since the STS-61 Space Shuttle flight in 1993 to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Inside Resiliance prior to reentry
Inside Resiliance prior to reentry

While in space, the crew made live webcasts to audiences back on Earth and when they weren't conducting research on human health, they enjoyed views of the Earth from a multi-layer glass cupola that replaced the docking mechanism in the nose of the capsule. However, the main purpose of the mission was to help raise US$200 million for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Though it was billed as the first space mission with an "all-civilian" crew, that honor goes to the one-person Vostok 6 in 1963 when, though it was a government spacecraft, Valentina Tereshkova became not only the first woman in space, but also the first astronaut who did not hold a military rank.

However, Arceneaux set a new record as the youngest American in orbit and Inspiration4 marked the first time, along with the International Space Station and China's Tiangong mission, that 14 people were in orbit at the same time.

The video below is the live feed of the splashdown.

Inspiration4 Return

Source: SpaceX

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4 comments
4 comments
RobC
Very cool! Splashdown in the video is at 1:12:00 or so.
Nelson Hyde Chick
It takes a thousand times as much energy to send a pound into orbit as it does to send it to 30,000 feet. We desperately need to cut CO2 emissions to avoid environmental catastrophe, but instead we are ramping CO2 emissions up to send the rich into space.
Skipjack
@Nelson Hyde Chick.
1. All or aerospace only makes about 2.5% of all global emissions. Spaceflight is only a tiny fraction of that.
2. A Falcon 9 burns less fuel during a launch than a 747 on a transatlantic flight.
3. There was only one billionaire on this flight. The other 3 crew members were normal people who were chosen for various merits and talents. One of them, Haley is a childhood cancer survivor who is now herself working as a PA at St Jude. She had been recommended by her coworkers and superiors at St Jude.
ljaques
Elon says "Hey, guys. Welcome back. Now what did you do to my paint job on Dragon while you were joy riding it?