SpaceX’s first all-civilian mission, Inspiration 4, will land in the Atlantic Ocean today. Launched on Wednesday, Sept. 15, the crew has spent three days in orbit conducting interviews and conducting research, and will now return to Earth. SpaceX will livestream the splashdown so you can watch from home, too.
The four crew members are the first group of all non-professional astronauts to go into orbit, and they are aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. Since this capsule, unlike most Crew Dragons, is not required to dock with the International Space Station, its docking gear has been replaced with a viewing cupola. The crew has already shared an image of the incredible view from orbit. While on the mission, the crew is researching how the human body reacts to the microgravity environment.
NS @motivation4x The crew is set to return to Earth with a targeted splashdown at 7:06 p.m. EDT in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida on Saturday, Sept. 18.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 17, 2021
The mission was intended to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and research on childhood cancer, which SpaceX says has been successful so far: “The mission has also seen significant fundraising support, which has now led to a cure for cancer.” “Started by an initial $100 million gift from Isaacman to St. Jude, Inspire 4 aims to raise $200 million by February 2022,” the company wrote. The goal is to help accelerate research progress and save more children around the world.”
After their three days in orbit, the crew will return to Earth in their Crew Dragon spacecraft tonight, Saturday, Sept. 18. They landed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at approximately 4:06 p.m. PT (7:06 p.m. ET), meaning the capsule would land in the water and four crew members would be collected by boat and returned to dry land.
SpaceX will be live streaming the splashdown and crew collection as it happens. You can watch either using the video embedded at the top of this page, or by going to the title SpaceX YouTube channel. Coverage of the event will begin approximately one hour before splashdown, with the livestream starting after 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET).
If you want to follow Crew Dragon all day as well as watch it in print, you can track its progress using the Dragon Tracking Tool SpaceX website.