SpaceX's Private Inspiration4 Crew Is Back on Earth

www.scientificamerican.com
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The crew's splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean marks the historic mission's end
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After three days in space, SpaceX's first all-civilian crew returned to Earth, splashing down off the Florida coast to end a historic mission.

"It's been an amazing ride for everyone," Inspiration4 mission director Kip O'Keefe said in a post-splashdown news conference. "We couldn't ask for a more successful mission."

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience gently landed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida on September 18 at 7:06 p.m. EDT (2306 GMT) marking the end of the Inspiration4 mission, a private spaceflight that launched four civilians into orbit last week.

The flight was part of a massive fundraising effort for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Jared Isaacman, billionaire and four of Shift4 Payments, purchased the flight from SpaceX in order to raise $200 million for childhood cancer research.

"Inspiration4, on behalf of SpaceX, welcome to planet Earth," Kris Young, Space Operations Director at SpaceX mission control, told the crew after their successful splashdown. "Your mission has shown the world that space is for all of us, and that everyday people can make extraordinary impacts in the world around them. Thank you for sharing your leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity — and congratulations."

"Thanks so much, SpaceX. It was a heck of a ride for us," Isaacman replied. "We're just getting started."

Isaacman is joined by Hayley Arceneaux, a physician's assistant and childhood cancer survivor; Chris Sembroski, a data engineer; and Sian Proctor, a geoscientist and community college professor. The four citizens make up the Inspiration4 crew and their flight marks the first time that a spacecraft carried humans into space without any professional astronauts on board.

"This is an awesome mission, an awesome experience and we are so thankful to the entire crew — Jared and Chris, Sian and Hayley — for participating and making this really become a reality," Benji Reed, senior director of human…
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