After three days orbiting Earth, the astronauts of Inspiration4 flying aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 7:06 p.m. EDT on Saturday.
The return marks the completion of the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit, which launched on a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday.
On Saturday evening, teams on SpaceX’s Go Searcher recovery ship were in the process of securing the spacecraft to be hoisted onto the main deck of the ship, where the Inspiration4 crew would exit the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride back to Kennedy Space Center.
The mission completed several firsts, including the:
- First all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit
- First black female spacecraft pilot
- Youngest American in space
- First person to fly to space with a prosthetic
- Farthest flight for a human spaceflight since the Hubble missions
- First time SpaceX has operated three Dragons in space
- First free-flight of a Dragon spacecraft on a human spaceflight mission
- Largest contiguous window ever flown in space
- First splashdown of a Dragon crew in the Atlantic Ocean
- First thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster to launch a human spaceflight mission
As part of the mission, Inspiration has raised nearly $154 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.