SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew returns to earth, including former Fairport resident Dr. Sian Proctor
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — SpaceX’s Dragon capsule splashed down back to earth Saturday evening after being in space for a 360 mile, three-day journey.
The Inspiration4 mission is the first time in history, a rocket carried an all-civilian crew into outer space. The Dragon capsule touched down seamlessly, carrying four astronauts including Dr. Sian Proctor, who was born in Guam but raised in Fairport.
Within an hour, the four smiling crew members emerged one by one from the capsule’s side hatch. Coming out first was Hayley Arceneaux, followed by Dr. Sian Proctor, Chris Sembroski and finally, Jared Issacman, the flight commander. Each of the four stood on the deck for a few moments in front of the capsule to wave and give thumbs-up.
The amateur astronauts were then escorted to a medical station onboard for checkups. Shortly thereafter they boarded a helicopter back to Florida for reunions with loved ones.
News10NBC caught up with Proctor before the mission took off and she says she’s excited for what’s to come.
"This makes me happy, and excited for the new space that’s opening up, and the people who are going to follow in our footsteps,” Proctor said.
The return from orbit turns up the heat, literally. SpaceX explained that the plunge through the earth’s atmosphere, generated frictional heat that sent temperatures surrounding the outside of the capsule to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s 1,927 degrees Celsius. The astronauts’ flight suits, were fitted with ventilation systems, that were designed to keep them cool if the cabin heated up.
"When it’s reentering the earth, it can get quite hot on the exterior and the material is doing its job, of absorbing the brunt of that heat,” a SpaceX official said.
Here’s an interesting fact for you: The Inspiration4 crew had no part in flying the spacecraft. It was operated by ground-based flight teams and onboard guidance systems, even though Isaacman and Proctor are both licensed pilots.
Watch the full splashdown in the video in the player below (mobile users, click here):