The all-civilian crew broadcast a live-stream as they flew at about 17,500 miles per hour over Europe
The all-civilian crew aboard Elon Musk’s rocket ship broadcast a live-stream as they neared the end of their spaceflight.
As the SpaceX capsule flew at about 17,500 miles per hour over Europe, one member of the four-person Inspiration4 team strummed a few chords on a ukulele during the show-and-tell session with viewers.
The team are orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 363. miles, which is higher than the International Space Station and the highest altitude humans have travelled in years.
“We’re really proud to share this experience with everyone. We know how fortunate we are to be here,” Commander Jared Isaacman told viewers.
The crew also shared their zero-gravity experiences as well as a glimpse of the views of Earth through the capsule’s wide observation dome.
The performance came as Mr Musk announced that the crew was expected to return to Earth on Saturday, with splashdown set for just after 7pm EDT (2300 GMT) in the Atlantic off Florida’s coast.
The quartet of amateur astronauts includes a billionaire e-commerce executive, who paid Mr Musk an undisclosed sum for the flight, reported at roughly 200 million by Time magazine.
Inspiration4/AFP via Getty Image)
Other members of the Inspiration4 team were selected via a competition and consist of a geoscientist, a physician assistant and a data engineer.
The team spent five months rigorously preparing for the flight, including altitude fitness, centrifuge (G-force), microgravity and simulator training, emergency drills, classroom work and medical exams.
The journey, which launched shortly after on Wednesday night, marked SpaceX’s inaugural astro-tourism flight and the team are the first all-civilian crew ever to circle the Earth from space.
A webcast of the launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, showed the team of four – Jared Isaacman, 38, Sian Proctor, 51, Hayley Arceneaux, 29, and Chris Sembroski, 42 – strapped into the pressurised cabin of their gleaming white SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience.
The capsule roared into the Florida sky perched atop one of the company’s reusable two-stage Falcon 9 rockets and fitted with a special observation dome in place of its usual docking hatch.
The Crew Dragon, fitted with a special observation dome in place of its usual docking hatch, reached orbit almost 10 minutes after blastoff.
The rocket’s first-stage booster, after separating from the spacecraft’s top half, descended back to Earth and touched down safely on a landing platform floating in the Atlantic on a drone ship affectionately named Just Read the Instructions.
The mission, which is called Inspiration4, was conceived by Mr Isaacman mainly to raise awareness and support for one of his favourite causes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading paediatric cancer centre in Memphis, Tennessee.
While in orbit, the crew will perform a series of medical experiments with “potential applications for human health on Earth and during future spaceflights,” the group said.
The Inspiration4 crew has no part to play in flying the spacecraft, which is operated by ground-based flight teams and onboard guidance systems.