Europe 1 with AFP 07:09, September 19, 2021

SpaceX's first four space tourists landed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida on Saturday evening after spending three days in space.

A return to Earth which crowns the success of the first orbital mission in history that did not include any professional astronaut on board.

Back to Earth for SpaceX's first four space tourists.

The crew, which had no professional astronauts, a first in history, landed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida on Saturday evening after spending three days in space.

An unprecedented feat for an orbital mission without a professional astronaut on board.

A smooth landing

The Dragon capsule resisted the vertiginous descent thanks to its heat shield, then was slowed down by four huge parachutes.

The landing took place on time, shortly after 7 p.m. on the US East Coast (11 p.m. GMT), according to a video broadcast from Elon Musk's company.

A SpaceX ship had to retrieve the capsule, before the hatch was opened and passengers could finally exit.

They should then be transported by helicopter to the Kennedy Space Center, from where they took off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday evening.

A turning point for the democratization of space

“It was a hell of a trip for us, and it's only just beginning,” captain billionaire Jared Isaacman said shortly after the landing.

The stated goal of the mission, dubbed "Inspiration4", was to mark a turning point in the democratization of space, by proving that the cosmos is also accessible to crews who have not been handpicked, and trained during years.

The four novices, Jared Isaacman, who chartered the mission, and three other Americans, spent three days orbiting the Earth, traveling beyond the International Space Station (ISS), up to 590 km above sea level. .

Spinning in orbit at around 28,000 km / h, they circled the globe more than 15 times each day.

This is the third time that Elon Musk's company, which in just a few years has become a giant in the sector, has brought humans back to Earth: during previous missions on behalf of NASA, six astronauts had already experienced a water landing on board from the same ship, for their part after a stay in the ISS.

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