Science & Technology

SpaceX capsule successfully returns after first-ever civilian space mission

Miami, Sep 18 (EFE).- The capsule Dragon, operated by private space exploration company SpaceX, on Saturday landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, United States, with the four crew members of the Inspiration4 mission, marking the first space trip consisting of only civilians.

Dragon landed back almost on schedule, at 7.07 pm local time, with the four crew members, which did not include any professional astronauts, with none of the members having traveled to space before.

“It was one heck of a ride for us, (… ) just getting started,” mission commander Jared Isaacman said seconds after the capsule landed in the Atlantic waters with the help of four parachutes.

Inspiration4 completed a three-day journey to space, moving at a speed of 28,160 kilometers per hour (17,500 mph), which allowed it to circle the Earth every 90 minutes.

Dragon attained a height of around 575 kms (357 miles), higher than the International Space Station and the Hubble space telescope.

Apart from Isaacman, the crew consisted of medical assistance Hayley Acreneaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who became the youngest American to reach the space, along with aeronautical engineer Chris Sembroski and professor and geoscientist Sian Proctor, who doubled up as pilot.

Members of the mission studied the human body’s behavior in space, apart from observing the planet from a dome in Dragon’s front tip, which offered a 360 degree view.

The mission also sought to raise $200 million for the St Jude’s children’s hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which specializes in cancer treatment.

On Friday during a live video call with the patients, Arceneaux showed them how it was inside the space capsule, while floating in the air, apart from offering them the majestic view of the Earth that the civilian astronauts could enjoy from their massive window.

Isaacman, a billionaire, footed the bill of the other crew members, and kicked off the fundraising campaign with a donation of $100 million. EFE

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