SpaceX tourists splash down after trailblazing trip to orbit
(*] CAPE CANAVERAL FLA. (AP) — Four SpaceX tourists concluded their trailblazing trip into orbit on Saturday with a splashdown off the Florida coast.
The SpaceX capsule of the four space tourists parachuted into a nearby ocean, just before sunset. This was not far from their chartered flight which began three days earlier.
The all-amateur crew was first to orbit the globe without a professional astronaut.
The billionaire who paid undisclosed million for the trip and his three friends wanted to prove that ordinary people can launch into orbit without a professional astronaut. SpaceX Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX took the trio on board as their first rocket-riding tourists.
SpaceX‘s fully automated Dragon capsule reached an unusually high altitude of 363 miles (585 kilometers) after Wednesday night’s liftoff. Surpassing the International Space Station by 100 miles (160 kilometers), the passengers savored views of Earth through a big bubble-shaped window added to the top of the capsule.
The four space travelers flew back through the atmosphere on Saturday evening. This was the first time since Apollo 9 in 1969. SpaceX‘s two previous crew splashdowns — carrying astronauts for NASA — were in the Gulf of Mexico.
This time, NASA was a mere observer. Its only tie to the Kennedy Space Center launchpad, which was once used by the Apollo moonshots crews and now leased by SpaceX .
The trip’s sponsor, Jared Isaacman, 38, an entrepreneur and accomplished pilot, aimed to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Donating $100 million himself, he held a lottery for one of the four seats. A competition was also held for customers of Shift4 payments, an Allentown, Pennsylvania, payment-processing company.
Joining him on the flight were Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a St. Jude physician assistant who was treated at the Memphis, Tennessee hospital nearly two decades ago for bone cancer, and contest winners Chris Sembroski, 42, a data engineer in Everett, Washington, and Sian Proctor, 51, a community college educator, scientist and artist from Tempe, Arizona.
Strangers – March. They spent six months training for and preparing to handle any emergency during the flight, which they called Inspiration4. They were able to talk to St. Jude patients, perform medical tests, ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange and play the ukulele and draw while most things went well.
Arceneaux, who was the youngest American to be in space, told her patients that she was a young girl going through cancer treatment. She also assured them that they could do it .”
Tom Cruise called, asking about his SpaceX flight from Earth to film the movie and Bono of U2’s.
Even their space menu was unusual: They had not only cold pizzas and sandwiches but also spaghetti Bolognese, and Mediterranean lamb.
Nearly 600 people have reached space — a scorecard that began 60 years ago and is expected to soon skyrocket as space tourism heats up.
Director SpaceX , Benji Reed, expects six private flights per year. This is in addition to the NASA astronaut launches. Four SpaceX flights have already been booked to carry paying customers to space station. They are accompanied by ex-NASA astronauts. The first is targeted for early next year with three businessmen paying $55 million apiece. Russia plans to hire an actor and film director next month, and a Japanese tycoon for December.
Customers looking for quick space trips should look to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic or Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The two rode their own rockets to the fringes of space in July to spur ticket sales; their flights lasted 10 to 15 minutes.
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