By Marcia Dunn | Assistant Printing Press
Hawthorne – Four astronauts completed their trailblazing journey into orbit on Saturday after splashing down the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
The capsule from Hawthorne-based SpaceX parachuted into the sea just before sunset, from where their chartered flight began three days earlier.
The all-amateur crew was the first to orbit the earth without a professional astronaut.
The millionaire who paid the unseen millions for the trip and his three guests wanted to show that ordinary people could explode in orbit on their own, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk took them as his company’s first rocket-riding tourist.
SpaceX’s fully automatic dragon capsule reached an unusual height of 363 miles (585 kilometers) after being lifted on Wednesday night. Passing 100 miles (160 kilometers) beyond the International Space Station, passengers enjoyed a view of the Earth through a large bubble-shaped window attached to the top of the capsule.
The four returned through the atmosphere on Saturday evening, the first astronauts since Apollo 9 in 1969 to finish their flight to the Atlantic. The previous two crews of SpaceX Splashdown – carrying astronauts for NASA – were in the Gulf of Mexico.
This time, NASA was a little more than an exciting bystander, the Kennedy Space Center launch pad was its only tie that was once used for the Apollo Munshot and shuttle crew, but is now leased by SpaceX.
The entrepreneur of the trip, Jared Isaacman, 38, an entrepreneur and skilled pilot, aimed to raise 200 200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. By donating নিজে 100 million himself, he won the lottery for one of the four seats. He also ran a competition for clients in his Allentown, Pennsylvania payment-processing business, Shift4 Payments.
Joining him on the flight were 29-year-old Hailey Arsenaux, a St. Jude medical assistant who was treated for bone cancer at a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee nearly two decades ago, and competition winner Chris Sembrowski, 42, a data engineer from Everett, Washington, and Sian Proct, A community college educator, scientist and artist from Tempe, Arizona.
Unfamiliar until March, they spent six months training and preparing for a potential emergency during the flight, called Inspiration 4. For the most part, their time was spent chatting with St. Jude’s patients, doing medical tests on themselves, playing the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, and playing some drawings and eucalyptus.
Arsenaux, the youngest American in space and the first with a prosthesis, reassured his patients, “I was a little girl who was going through cancer treatment for many like you, and if I could do it, you could do it.”
They also received calls from Tom Cruise and rock band U2′s Bono, who are interested in the space station, for filming on their own SpaceX flight.
Even their space menu was not common: cold pizza and sandwiches, but pasta bolognese and Mediterranean lamb.
About 600 people have arrived in space – a scorecard that began 60 years ago and is expected to skyrocket soon as space tourism heats up.
The director of SpaceX, Benji Reed, expects six private flights a year, which was sandwiched in the astronaut launch for NASA. Four SpaceX flights have already been booked for the CarryPayment customers’ space station, along with former NASA astronauts. The first is set for early next year with three businessmen paying 55 million a month. Russia plans to hire an actor and film director to shoot next month and a Japanese tycoon in December.
Customers interested in a quick space trip are leaning towards Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. To encourage ticket sales, the two rode their own rockets into space in July; Their flight lasted 10 to 15 minutes.