SpaceX’s first all-civilian mission, Inspiration4, will be splashing down in the Atlantic ocean today. Launched on Wednesday, September 15, the crew has spent three days in orbit doing interviews and performing research, and now they’ll be returning to Earth. SpaceX will livestream the splashdown so you can watch along from home.
The four crew members are the first group of all non-professional astronauts to go into orbit, and they are aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. As this capsule, unlike most Crew Dragons, doesn’t need to dock with the International Space Station, it has had its docking gear replaced with a viewing cupola. The crew has already shared an image of the incredible view from orbit. While on the mission, the crew has been performing research into how the human body reacts to the microgravity environment.
The @inspiration4x crew is set to return to Earth on Saturday, September 18 with a targeted splashdown at 7:06 p.m. EDT in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 17, 2021
The mission also aimed to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to research childhood cancer, which SpaceX says it has been successful at so far: “The mission has also seen significant fundraising support, having now raised nearly $150M to help cure childhood cancer back on Earth,” the company wrote. “Started by an initial $100 million gift from Isaacman to St. Jude, Inspiration4 has a fundraising goal to raise $200 million through February 2022 to help accelerate research advancements and save more children worldwide.”
How to watch the splashdown
After their three days in orbit, the crew will be returning to Earth in their Crew Dragon spacecraft tonight, Saturday September 18. They’ll be splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at around 4:06 p.m. PT (7:06 p.m. ET), meaning the capsule will land in the water and the four crew members will be collected by boat and returned to dry land.
SpaceX will be streaming the splashdown and collection of the crew live as it happens. You can watch along either by using the video embedded at the top of this page, or by heading to SpaceX’s YouTube channel. Coverage of the event will begin about an hour before the splashdown, with the livestream beginning just after 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET).
If you’d like to follow the Crew Dragon throughout the day as well as seeing it splashdown, you can track its progress using the Dragon tracking tool on SpaceX’s website.