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Citizen spacefliers splash down, finishing up Inspiration4’s charity mission in orbit

18 Sep 2021, 23:35 UTC
Citizen spacefliers splash down, finishing up Inspiration4’s charity mission in orbit
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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is hoisted aboard a recovery ship after splashdown. (SpaceX via YouTube)
The first non-governmental flight to orbit ended with a splash today — and with the safe return of the Inspiration4 mission’s billionaire commander and his three crewmates.
Shift4 Payment’s 38-year-old founder and CEO, Jared Isaacman, paid what’s thought to be a price of more than $100 million for the three-day flight, which began on Wednesday evening with a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch and ended at 7:06 p.m. ET (4:06 p.m. PT) with the splashdown of SpaceX’s reusable Crew Dragon capsule in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
Inspiration4’s main goal is to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In addition to paying for the flight, Isaacman committed to donating half that amount, and $58 million more has been raised to date through other contributions and marketing deals.
Isaacman’s three crewmates were chosen by various means:

Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who’s now a physician assistant at St. Jude, was picked by the hospital and goes into the history books as the youngest American in space as well as the first person to fly in orbit with a prosthetic (in ...

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