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Mon, Sep 20, 2021

Inspiration4 Returns Home... Triumphantly

Musk Donates $50M To St. Jude Fund-Raising

After three days orbiting Earth, the astronauts of Inspiration4 flying aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 7:06 p.m. EDT.

The return marks the completion of the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit, which launched on a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.

Dragon performed a series of departure phasing burns to leave the circular orbit of 575 kilometers and then jettisoned its trunk ahead of its deorbit burn. After re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft deployed its two drogue and four main parachutes in preparation for the soft water landing.

Upon splashdown, the Inspiration4 astronauts were welcomed home by the SpaceX team and quickly brought on board the recovery vessel. SpaceX transported Dragon back to Cape Canaveral for inspections and refurbishment ahead of future human spaceflight missions.

Count me in for $50M

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 19, 2021

 

The mission completed several historic firsts, including the:

  • First all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit
  • First black female spacecraft pilot
  • Youngest American in space
  • First person to fly to space with a prosthetic
  • Farthest flight for a human spaceflight since the Hubble missions
  • First time SpaceX has operated three Dragons in space
  • First free-flight of a Dragon spacecraft on a human spaceflight mission
  • Largest contiguous window ever flown in space
  • First splashdown of a Dragon crew in the Atlantic Ocean
  • First thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster to launch a human spaceflight mission

Finally, true to the mission’s name and purpose, Inspiration4 raised over $200M dollars (and counting) for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital--boosted by the Friday promise of another $50M by SpaceX's Elon Musk.

FMI: www.spacex.com, www.inspiration4.com

 


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