Cape Canaveral, Fla. A SpaceX capsule carrying four space tourists was aimed at a splashdown off the Florida coast on Saturday evening.
The first full-fledged amateur flight into Earth orbit began three days ago with a launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
The billionaire who paid for the flight, Jared Isaacman, took two contest winners with him, as well as a childhood cancer survivor who is now a physician assistant at the hospital where he was treated: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
They are using a flight called Inspiration4 to try to raise $200 million for St. Jude.
Stranger by March, he spent six months training and preparing for potential emergencies on the automated Dragon capsule. Once in class, he interacted with St. Jude’s patients, underwent medical examinations himself, rang the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange, and continued drawing and playing the guitar.
This will be the first Atlantic splashdown by a returning space crew in more than 50 years. SpaceX’s two previous crew splashdowns, with NASA astronauts, were in the Gulf of Mexico.
SpaceX envisions six private flights a year, sandwiched between the launches of astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.
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