SpaceX's private Inspiration4 crew returns to Earth with historic splashdown off Florida coast

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After three days in space, SpaceX's first all-civilian crew returned to Earth tonight, splashing down off the Florida coast to end a historic mission.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —

"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 tonight (Sept. 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 earlier this 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."

Video: Splashdown! SpaceX Inspiration4 crew back on Earth

Live updates: SpaceX's Inspiration4 private all-civilian orbital mission

Image 1 of 8 The Crew Dragon Resilience splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, on Sept. 18, 2021. (Image credit: John Kraus/Inspiration4) Image 2 of 8 The Crew Dragon Resilience splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, on Sept. 18, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX) Image 3 of 8 The Crew Dragon Resilience splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, on Sept. 18, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX) Image 4 of 8 The Crew Dragon Resilience splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, on Sept. 18, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX) Image 5 of 8…
Amy Thompson
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