SpaceX Civilian Flight Set To Splashdown on Earth Tonight

by Michael Freeman
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SpaceX’s all-civilian crew launch with Inspiration4 made history three days ago when it went into orbit. After a long journey, it is set to splashdown tonight.

ABC News reports the Dragon capsule is expected to return to Earth just after 7 p.m. ET this evening. It is set to travel at 17,500 miles per hour when it de-orbits. After that, it will slow down to roughly 350 mph when the parachute deploys at 18,000 feet. It will remain around 119 mph before hitting the ocean.

SpaceX’s splashdown location of choice is the Atlantic Ocean, off the Cape Canaveral coast. However, they can pivot to the Gulf of Mexico, if necessary. Making history by being the first all-civilian crew, Inspiration4 is also historic in that it’s the farthest any civilian has traveled from Earth. The crew reached 367 miles above Earth, stretching even farther than the International Space Station.

Tonight’s splashdown will be the third SpaceX Dragon-crewed capsule to splashdown from orbit, though the first with no professional astronauts aboard. Billionaire Jared Isaacman is an experienced pilot and commands the mission. Purchasing all four seats on the flight for an estimated $220 million, he wants the mission to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Before the launch, he personally donated $100 million to help battle cancer in children.

Additionally, the crew conducted experiments while in orbit. They used a portable ultrasound to measure their corneas and optic nerves for indications of internal head pressure. Hayley Arceneaux, a member of the crew, told ABC News “we’ve also been taking several swabs of different parts of our body to evaluate the microbiome and how that changes in these three days in space.”

SpaceX’s Inspiration4 Crew Shares Pictures From Outer Space

On the first day of their successful launch into orbit, the Inspiration4 crew spoke to Elon Musk about their experience. They also happened to post some photos from their glass-domed bathroom. Though an unusual location, the view is amazing.

“The crew of #Inspiration4 had an incredible first day in space! They’ve completed more than 15 orbits around planet Earth since liftoff and made full use of the Dragon cupola,” the account writes. Ever since then, the official Inspiration4 social media accounts have been dropping pictures and videos of things the crew has been up to.

Jared Isaacman donated $100 million for the St. Jude fundraising initiative, but the mission is striving to reach $200 million. The account is also trying to raise awareness by posting pictures with information on the campaign and how to help.

By visiting the official website, you can view details about how to donate and support their effort of fighting cancer in children. As of now, the campaign has raised $53 million out of its $100 million goal.

Outsider.com