SpaceX: the four tourists landed off Florida

Here they are home safe and sound. After three days in space, the four private passengers of SpaceX landed, Saturday evening, September 18, off the coast of Florida. A maneuver that marks the end of this first orbital mission to include no professional astronaut.

The landing took place on time, shortly after 7 p.m., on the US East Coast, according to a video broadcast from Elon Musk’s company. The Dragon capsule first withstood the vertiginous descent thanks to its heat shield, then four large parachutes slowed it down for a smooth landing.

A SpaceX ship then retrieved the capsule. The four passengers then got out one by one. They were to be transported by helicopter to the Kennedy Space Center, from where they had taken off thanks to a Falcon 9 launcher, Wednesday evening, and where they will be reunited with their families.

“It was a hell of a trip for us, and it’s only just beginning”billionaire Jared Isaacman captain said shortly after the landing. “Congratulations, Inspiration4”, a tweeté Elon Musk, the boss of SpaceX.

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“Inspiration4” was the name of this first totally tourist space mission, even if it made it possible to collect data: heart rate, sleep, oxygen saturation in the blood, cognitive capacities … Their study should make it possible to better understand the effect of the space environment on beginners. These amateur astronauts received only six months of training before the trip, compared to years for professionals.

Around the globe 15 times a day

This is the third time Elon Musk’s company has brought humans back to Earth, after two astronauts on a demonstration mission in August 2020, then four more astronauts in May 2021 on a first regular mission for the account. from NASA, aboard the same spacecraft. All were returning from a stay on the International Space Station (ISS)

Unlike them, the passengers of the “Inspiration4” mission did not go to the ISS, but remained around the Earth at an orbit about 575 km high, that is to say farther than the space station. Speeding at around 28,000 km / h, they circled the globe more than 15 times each day.

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The mission was funded by billionaire Jared Isaacman. He offered three seats to strangers: Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old medical assistant who became the youngest American to visit space, Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old professor, and Chris Sembroski, a former military man. 42-year-old American Air Force.

The four space tourists in orbit, September 16, 2021: Left to right, Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who funded the mission, Hayley Arceneaux, Christopher Sembroski and Sian Proctor.

“Inspiration4” concludes a summer marked by the flight of billionaires in Space: first Richard Branson, on July 11, aboard the Virgin Galactic ship, then a few days later Jeff Bezos, with his company Blue Origin. But these suborbital flights only offered a few minutes in zero gravity.

SpaceX is planning more space tourism flights. The next one from January 2022, with three businessmen on board.

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The World with AFP

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SpaceX: the four tourists landed off Florida