After their journey into space, the first space crew consisting solely of lay astronauts landed back on earth on Sunday night. Shortly after 01:00 CEST time, the capsule with the four returnees touched down off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic, as the mission called “Inspiration4” announced.
After its launch on Wednesday evening from the Cape Canaveral spaceport, the “Dragon” space capsule of the private US space company SpaceX owned by star entrepreneur Elon Musk had orbited the earth for the past three days. The spacecraft needed around 90 minutes to circumnavigate the earth at around 30,000 kilometers per hour. At a height of 580 kilometers above the earth, it floated even higher than the International Space Station (ISS).
“The views are spectacular,” said 38-year-old US billionaire Jared Isaacman, who chartered the all trip, cheered after the start. With him on board were 29-year-old medical assistant Hayley Arceneaux, 51-year-old artist and professor Sian Proctor and 41-year-old aerospace engineer Chris Sembrosk.
Isaacman is already the third billionaire in a few months to venture into space from the United States. In July, the Briton Richard Branson and around ten days later Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tested their own spaceships for the first time – but both only with short excursions of a few minutes and a significantly lower altitude. Neither he nor SpaceX wanted to reveal how much Isaacman paid to charter the “Dragon” spaceship.
Entertainment and good food on board
Isaacman selected his fellow travelers through various charity campaigns because he wants to collect donations for a children’s hospital in the US state of Tennessee with the mission. During the all-excursion, which is also being documented on the streaming service “Netflix”, the four amateur astronauts passed the time in the cramped capsule with conversations with actor Tom Cruise or SpaceX founder Musk, among other things.
The bell that gives the signal to stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange was also allowed to ring virtually on Friday evening. In terms of food, the crew was taken care of much more expensively than conventional and longer missions: In addition to coffee and tea, there were sandwiches, pasta with Bolognese sauce and a pile of sweets.