WATCH: Ukulele Demonstrated in SpaceX’s First All-Civilian Flight

WATCH: Ukulele Demonstrated in SpaceX's First All-Civilian Flight

SpaceX: Inspiration 4 blasted off from Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.

A 42-year-old data engineer on the first all-civilian astronaut crew to reach orbit made some spaceflight history Friday, performing a zero-gravity ukulele in a SpaceX capsule hundreds of miles above Earth’s surface.

Lockheed Martin employee and US Air Force veteran Chris Sambrowski plays some chords to the audience at home during a 10-minute show-and-tell session by the four-man Inspiration4 team as they glide at nearly 17,500 mph ( 28,000 km/h) over Europe.

SpaceX, the private rocketship company owned by high-tech mogul and Tesla Inc. electric automaker CEO Elon Musk, later announced that the crew is expected to return to Earth on Saturday. The company said the splashdown was set after 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida.

To prepare for re-entry and return, the spacecraft completed two rocket “burns” Friday to lower altitude and line up the capsule’s trajectory with the landing site.

Mission officials said the astronauts spent most of their first 48 hours apart from space, including phone calls with family, friends and supporters such as Musk and Hollywood star Tom Cruise.

They also appeared by video linkup on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday to ring the closing bell.

Friday’s orbital appearance aboard the Crew Dragon capsule was livestreamed on SpaceX’s YouTube channel, which supplied the spacecraft, launched it from Florida and operated it from the company’s suburban Los Angeles headquarters.

‘A winner on spinning’

Billionaire Jared Isaacman, chief executive of e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments Inc., paid Musk an undisclosed sum for the flight — nearly $200 million reported by Time magazine — which became SpaceX’s inaugural astro-tourism flight.

Sambrowski wasn’t the only one performing a spaceflight pastime.

Geoscientist and former NASA astronaut candidate Sean Proctor, 51, shows off a piece of artwork in his orbit—a drawing rendered in metal markers that he sees depicting the Crew Dragon capsule being carried away from Earth by an actual dragon as described.

Hayley Arsinaux, 29, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Center in Tennessee, where she was once a childhood cancer patient, was happy to move about the cabin to give viewers a feel for microgravity.

“Haley is a champion in spinning. She’s been spinning since we got to class,” Proctor said.

Attempts to show spectacular views of Earth through the capsule’s elaborate observation dome, or cupola, were more disappointing as the spacecraft flew into Earth’s own shadow, although Proctor said she could see the aurora borealis display in the dark sky below. Is. It didn’t look good on camera for the audience.

Arceneaux also featured a small plush-toy dog ​​in a white coat, which the crew uses as their zero-gravity environmental indicator. When it floats freely in the cabin, they know they are in zero-G. The toy is loosely modeled after one of the Golden Retrievers serving as comfort dogs for young St. Jude patients.

Replicas of the Zero-G dog are being sold to raise money for St. Jude, as part of a larger Inspiration4 charity mission envisioned by Isaacman to benefit the Cancer Institute.

Inspiration 4 blasted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on Wednesday. Within three hours the crew capsule had reached a cruising orbital altitude of more than 363 miles (585 km)—higher than the International Space Station or the Hubble Space Telescope, and after NASA’s Apollo Moon program ended in 1972. The farthest human has ever flown from Earth. .

The SpaceX launch marked a jump ahead of competitors Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, which are similarly offering rides on rocket ships to customers willing to pay a small fortune.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)