Watch SpaceX's all-civilian spaceflight return to Earth starting at 6PM ET (update: landed)

Inspiration4 is returning after just a few days in orbit.

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Jon Fingas
September 18th, 2021
Inspiration4 team views Earth from SpaceX's Crew Dragon cupola
The Inspiration4 team gets a glimpse of Earth from the Crew Dragon cupola. SpaceX, Twitter

SpaceX's all-civilian Inspiration4 spaceflight is coming to an end, and the company wants to be sure you see those last moments. The firm is livestreaming its Crew Dragon capsule's return to Earth starting at 6PM Eastern, with an expected splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida at 7:06PM. You can watch the stream below.

The mission saw Shift4 chief Jared Isaacman and three other civilian crew members (Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski) conduct scientific research around the effects of spaceflight on the human body. It also served as a fundraising campaign for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which relies primarily on donations to advance cancer-fighting medicine.

This is the shortest occupied Crew Dragon flight to date. The earlier Demo-2, Crew-1 and Crew-2 missions were all planned to dock with the International Space Station and last between nine weeks to six months — Inspiration4's three days is a blip in comparison. Not that SpaceX is complaining. This not only demonstrates the viability of sending civilian-only crews to space, but could serve as a sales pitch to clients who might only want a brief amount of time in orbit.

Update 9/19 8:40AM ET: As expected, the Crew Dragon capsule splashed down without a hitch.

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