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SpaceX capsule returns four civilians from orbit, capping off first tourism mission

On Saturday, four individuals returned to Earth after a three-day space excursion aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. The arrival marked the end of the first-ever flight to Earth’s orbit flown entirely by tourists. Passengers included billionaire mission commander Jared Isaacman, 29-year-old cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, educator and geologist Sian Proctor, and Chris Sembroski, a camp counselor. The crew was shown responding to SpaceX’s mission control, watching movies, and taking before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. After traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the spacecraft used Earth’s thick blanket of air to slow itself down.

The Crew Dragon capsule uses a heat shield to protect passengers from the intense heat and buildup of plasma as it descended towards Earth. The crew was seen smiling and waving to cameras upon their arrival in Florida. There were a few minor issues from a technical standpoint, according to the director of crew mission management Benji Reed, such as waste management systems. Reed also confirmed one problem with a temperature sensor in one of the Draco thrusters used to move the capsule while in space.

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