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SpaceX is bringing its Crew Dragon spacecraft back from orbit on Saturday, the capsule carrying the four members of the Inspiration4 mission to Earth after three days in space.
The Crew Dragon Resilience capsule is scheduled to land off Cape Canaveral, Fla. In the Atlantic Ocean at 7:06 p.m. ET.
The historic private mission – which includes Commander Jared Isaacman, Pilot Sian Proctor, Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux and Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski – orbiting Earth at an altitude of up to 590 kilometers, which is above the International Space Station and most distant humans have traveled above the surface for years. In free-flight space flight, the capsule did not dock with the ISS but instead circled the Earth independently at a speed of 15 orbits per day.
Inspiration4 shared photos of the crew’s time in orbit, giving a glimpse of the stunning views from the spacecraft’s “dome” window.
This is the third time SpaceX has returned astronauts from space, and the second time for this capsule – which previously flew the Crew-1 mission for NASA on a trip that returned in May. For Inspiration4’s return, Resilience is expected to shut its nose at 6:35 p.m. ET before the intense re-entry process, and then deploy its parachutes just after 7 p.m. ET.
The two previous SpaceX astronaut missions have landed in the Gulf of Mexico, making it the first to return to the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft crashes into the Gulf of Mexico with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard on August 2, 2020.
The mission also comes with several other milestones for Elon Musk’s company including: the first private SpaceX spaceflight, the first entirely unprofessional crew to become an astronaut, the first black female spacecraft pilot, the youngest astronaut American to date and the first person to fly into space with a prosthesis.
Inspiration4 was paid for by Isaacman for an undisclosed amount, with the primary purpose of the space flight being to raise $ 200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman, a billionaire entrepreneur, made a personal donation of $ 100 million, with the mission raising an additional $ 53.8 million in donations on Saturday night, according to the mission’s website.
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