SpaceX capsule to return from orbit, capping off first tourism mission

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The four will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule before landing by parachutes and splashdown off the coast of Florida on Saturday evening. The re-entry process will involve the spacecraft — which has been traveling at more than 17,000 mph for the past three days — diving back into Earth’s dense atmosphere, a process that heats the vehicle’s exterior to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. does.

Then, the capsule is expected to deploy two sets of parachutes in rapid succession to slow its descent before hitting the ocean. A fleet of SpaceX rescue ships will be nearby, ready to lift the capsule and its passengers safely out of the water.

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During a Netflix documentary about the Inspiration 4 mission, Musk described a capsule as “coming like a blazing meteor” through reentry.

“And so it’s hard not to vaporize,” he said.


Crew Dragon then has to deploy a parachute to slow its descent and make a safe splashdown at sea before the rescue ships can take the four passengers back to dry land.

Despite the risks, a former NASA chief and career safety officials have said that the Crew Dragon is probably the safest piloted vehicle ever built.

Passengers include 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman, who personally financed and arranged the trip with SpaceX and its CEO, Elon Musk; Hayley Arsinaux, 29, childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Sean Prokator, 51, a geologist and community college teacher with a Ph.D.; and Chris Sambrowski, a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee and lifelong space fan who claimed his seat via an online raffle. Isaacman has billed the mission as a St. Jude fundraiser, and it has so far raised $154 million out of its $200 million goal.
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Although they are not the first tourists to travel into orbit, their mission, called Inspiration 4, is notable because it did not include a stop at the International Space Station under the tutelage of professional astronauts, as in previous missions involving space tourists. it was done. Rather, four spaceflight novices have spent the past two days flying freely on their 13-foot-wide capsule at an altitude of about 350 miles—where the ISS is, and 100 miles higher than any human. decade.

And although the crew spent nearly six months training and getting to know each other, they didn’t undergo NASA’s rigorous screening procedures or the physical and psychological evaluations that most professional astronauts do.

Axios reporter Miriam Kramer, who followed the crew during their training process, said on “How It Happened,” they also had to be prepared for the worst-case scenario such as someone in the crew being themselves or others. becomes a threat.” podcast about this mission. “There are zip ties and medicines on board in case anyone needs sedation.”
SpaceX launches first all-camper crew into orbit

However, so far there is no indication that anything went wrong with the crew or their vehicle.

During their stay in space, citizens on board said they would do a little scientific research focusing on how their bodies react in space, taking time to interact with their families, a large look at the dome-shaped window called the “cupola,” and listen music.

The Inspiration4 Twitter account also shared footage of Archinox talking to his St. Jude patients, and Isaacman rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange via satellite feed on Friday afternoon.

In addition, very few updates were shared with the public while the crew was in orbit. The first live audio or visual from inside the crew capsule was shared on Friday afternoon, nearly two days after its launch.

SpaceX, as has been the norm for the company for more than a year, did not respond to inquiries from reporters.

How SpaceX and NASA Overcame a Bitter Culture Clash to Bring Back American Astronaut Launches

During the previous SpaceX Crew Dragon missions—all of which have flown for NASA and carried professional astronauts to the International Space Station—the public has more insight. The space agency and dozens of its communications personnel have worked with SpaceX to share practically every moment of the astronauts’ journey from launch to the International Space Station.

But when questions arose about the crew’s schedule and how they were feeling, the mission left the public at large in the dark. In To revolve around. Even though development of the Crew Dragon spacecraft was largely funded by taxpayers and SpaceX rents out NASA facilities to support all of its missions, Inspire 4 is considered a private, commercial mission. This means that the company and passengers have certain transparency requirements. After the splatter on Saturday evening, the public may not even hear the voice of the tourists.

There could be many reasons for space tourists shying away from publicity during their travels. For example, it is possible that the crew was not feeling so well after reaching first orbit. According to a NASA research paper, “many astronauts report symptoms of motion sickness shortly after arriving in space and again after returning to Earth” and getting a restful night’s sleep in orbit” also for many crew members aboard the shuttle mission was a serious challenge.” It is also possible that the four novice space explorers wanted their privacy or simply wanted to enjoy the experience without having to talk about it.

But a favorable review of their experience may be important. SpaceX hopes this mission will be the first of many such, creating a new line of business for the company in which it will use Crew Dragon to fly commercial missions with tourists or private researchers, rather than just professional astronauts. does for.

SpaceX already has contracts for five other private missions, as well as at least four additional NASA-contracted missions.


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