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The crew of the Dragon splashes down to bring the Inspiration4 mission to a close

ByJerzy Nawrocki

Sep 30, 2021

The Crew Dragon spacecraft splashed down off the Florida coast on September 18, completing SpaceX’s first private crewed mission. At 7:06 p.m. Eastern, the Crew Dragon spaceship Resilience splashed down off the Cape Canaveral’s coast, Florida. The spacecraft splashed down 50 minutes after it began the deorbit burn.

“Welcome home to planet Earth, Inspiration4, on behalf of SpaceX,” Kris Young, who is the SpaceX space operations director, announced from SpaceX mission control shortly after splashdown. “Your mission has demonstrated that space is for everyone and that regular individuals can have amazing impacts on the world.”

“SpaceX, thank you so much. The commander, Jared Isaacman, responded, “It’s been a wild ride for us.” “We’re only getting started.” The Inspiration4 mission came to an end 71 hours after its deployment from the Kennedy Space Center on September 15. The flight was paid for by Isaacman, a billionaire, with the intention of using it as a fundraiser, which was meant for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Hayley Arceneaux, who is a physician assistant at the St. Jude and a former patient; Sian Proctor, an artist and a geoscientist who won a competition allied with Isaacman’s online payments firm, Shift4 Payments; as well as Chris Sembroski, who was chosen via a raffle competition to raise funds for St. Jude, accompanied Isaacman on the mission. The astronauts appeared to be loving their time in orbit during a 10-minute live stream session on September 17. They talked about anything from biological studies to snapping images from a cupola in the spacecraft’s nose.

Officials from SpaceX and Inspiration4 spoke with reporters approximately an hour after the splashdown and claimed the mission went really well. “From start to finish, it was a really clean mission,” said Benji Reed, SpaceX’s senior director in charge of the human spaceflight programs. He said the crew was “happy and healthy” despite a malfunction with a fan inside the spacecraft’s waste management system. Although a temperature sensor inside a Draco thruster failed, he claimed that both the thruster and sensor were redundant.

Inspiration4 mission director Todd Ericson remarked, “The crew was able to finish the full-duration flight without any difficulties.” “There are always a few little snags along the road, but the SpaceX team handled them brilliantly.”

According to the project’s website, Inspiration4 has raised almost $30 million, which has been meant for St. Jude since its inception, with a total of about $60 million raised. However, this is very far short of the $100 million goals set by Isaacman and SpaceX when the mission was revealed in February. Inspiration4 stated in a statement on September 17 that it aims to gather $200 million by February 2022, including the $100 million Isaacman has already donated.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, tweeted late September 18 that he would donate $50 million, more than enough to meet the project’s goal. As of early September 19, that donation was not included in the stats on the Inspiration4 website.

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