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  • Borislav Ivanov

SpaceX astronauts have returned to Earth

The four civilians, who went on an extraterrestrial excursion on the so-called Inspiration4 flight have returned to Earth this Sunday evening. This has concluded SpaceX’s first space tourism mission. The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience, which is the spacecraft used in this mission, is the first of its kind to be fully operated by tourists.

"Thanks so much, SpaceX, it was a heck of a ride for us!" Those were the words of Jared Isaacman, “Inspiration4” mission commander, which were heard during a SpaceX livestream. After travelling at more than 27 000 kilometers per hour, the craft began the process of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The outside of the spacecraft reached around 20 000 °Celsius, however, the Crew Dragon capsule prevented temperatures inside the cabin from reaching more than 30 °Celsius. After splashing into the ocean, the capsule was lifted and transported back to Florida by helicopter. The crew were seen waving and smiling on livestream cameras.

As a reminder, the passengers included Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire founder, and CEO of Shift4 Payments, who financed the flight and served as its commander; Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old childhood cancer survivor, who currently works at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old community college educator; and Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old veteran and data engineer.

Isaacman used this mission to donate $100 000 000 to the hospital where Hayley Arceneaux works, in addition to starting a funding campaign for an additional $100 000 000, which has already met 60% of its goal with $60 000 000. After the crew landed, Elon Musk pledged to donate $50 000 000 to the fundraiser, which entails that the goal has been exceeded by $10 000 000.

SpaceX has already contracted five other private missions, in addition to four additional missions from NASA.

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