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SpaceX Crew Returns to Earth After 6 Months in Space

SpaceX Crew Dragon has landed back in Florida in preparation for SpaceX’s next flight. Credit: Official SpaceX Photos, CC BY-C 2.0

The SpaceX Crew Dragon landed back in Florida on Monday after spending six months in space. The crew started their mission in April, running various different experiments on the relationship between different natural entities and space.

The team also went out into space itself, wearing the famous thick astronaut suits as they made their way through zero gravity on the outside of the International Space Station.

The crew was comprised of four astronauts, NASA’s Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, the European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet of France, and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

The team encountered some hurdles during their half-year stay in space, most notably when a Russian module botched its attachment to the ISS and pushed the space station out of its place.

The crew was also met with inconveniences on their way back home when the capsule’s bathroom malfunctioned, leaving them with no option but to wear adult diapers for the rest of their nine-hour trip to Earth.

McArthur was not thrilled about the situation but said in a press conference that “Spaceflight is full of lots of little challenges. This is just one more that we’ll encounter and take care of in our mission, so we’re not too worried about it.”

SpaceX and NASA have been co-running missions on the ISS so that to ensure the station always has a team of astronauts getting the most from its facilities’ potential. NASA spent almost a decade lacking the necessary spacecraft to reach the ISS and have astronauts in space for long periods of time. Now with the help of SpaceX they are able to send teams out continually, with the next group preparing to head to the ISS immediately.

SpaceX works closely with NASA while also developing commercial space travel

While SpaceX has been working closely with NASA the past few years, notably winning a contract over competitor Blue Origin, the company has also taken great strides in the race to develop commercial space travel.

Inspiration4, a spaceflight manned by four ‘everyday citizens,’ successfully launched into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in late September

The Inspiration4 mission also doubled as a charity fundraising event for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The organization, which functions as a children’s hospital as well as a research center for pediatric cancers and other serious illnesses, developed the fundraiser in coordination with billionaire Jared Isaacman. St. Jude’s will be auctioning off prizes centered around the crew’s upcoming mission to space as well as a meet-and-greet package with the four member team.

As part of the fundraising effort, a song that also exists as an NFT (non-fungible token) by the Kings of Leon was played in space and later auctioned off. 66 pounds of beer hops also traveled on the mission, and when the hops returned to Earth Sam Adams used them to create the official, limited edition Inspiration4 beer. A ukulele played by one of the crew members and a portrait of the team on the cover of Time magazine was also auctioned off.


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