Three days after taking off from Earth, a medical assistant, a community college professor, a data engineer, and the billionaire who funded their journey returned to the surface, ushering in a new age of space travel with a spectacular and successful landing in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday evening.
The mission, which is known as Inspiration4, splashed down off the coast of Florida at 7:06 p.m. local time on July 6. on the eve of Saturday All of the steps in the return were completed on time and without incident.
Kris Young, SpaceX’s director of space operations, addressed the crew as the spacecraft floated in the ocean as it returned to planet Earth. Founded by Elon Musk, SpaceX is a rocket firm that produced the Falcon 9 rocket that launched the Inspiration4 mission, as well as the Crew Dragon capsule, which housed the astronauts for the previous three days on the ISS.
In his remarks, Mr. Young stated, “Your mission has shown to the whole world that space is for all of us and that ordinary people can have tremendous effects on the world around them.”
“It was a wild journey for us,” Jared Isaacman, the 38-year-old millionaire who was the driving force behind Inspiration4, said in response.
Resilience, the spacecraft that had dropped out of orbit an hour before, had fired its engines for 15 minutes to accomplish this. Upon deployment of the parachutes, Resilience was slowed to about 15 miles per hour when it impacted the sea. With just an hour to spare, the four crew members emerged from the spacecraft, one by one, smiling with joy as rescue teams helped them.
Recently, two celebrity billionaires — Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and Richard Branson, chairman and CEO of the Virgin Group — travelled to the edge of space in vehicles built and operated by companies they had founded, potentially heralding the beginning of a new wave of wealthy space tourists taking brief up-and-down trips off the planet.
When the four members of the Inspiration4 crew were in orbit at the same time, three Chinese astronauts on the country’s new space station, and an international crew of seven astronauts on the International Space Station were all in orbit at the same time, setting a new record.