back to article Space tourists splash down in Atlantic Ocean after three days in orbit

The space tourist crew who spent three days orbiting Earth in a SpaceX Dragon capsule has returned to our planet in one piece. The gang, dubbed Inspiration4, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast just after 1900 EST (2300 UTC) on Saturday. They were checked over by doctors and flown by helicopter to land. …

  1. Empire of the Pussycat

    Crew? More like modern day Laikas

    Except this lot were allowed to return.

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: Crew? More like modern day Laikas

      Laika, the first mammal in orbit, was just an ordinary straydog picked from the streets of Moscow. Luckily for her she was euthanised is space. Sooner or later a space tourism 'mission' will fail and the tourists can collect their posthumous Darwin Awards (*).

      BTW IMHO Posts on ElReg on manned spaceflight should not be categorised as SCIENCE.

      (*) See this followup video.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Crew? More like modern day Laikas

        BTW IMHO Posts on ElReg on manned spaceflight should not be categorised as SCIENCE.

        Why not - they actually were doing research whilst they were there, and there is substantial science and engineering involved in each flight.

      2. Lotaresco
        Boffin

        Re: Crew? More like modern day Laikas

        "Luckily for her she was euthanised is space."

        Sadly Laika was not euthanised. She died in distress and probably pain when the heat shield failed.

        'Unfortunately, loss of the heat shield made the temperature in the capsule rise unexpectedly, taking its toll on Laika. She died “soon after launch,” Russian medical doctor and space dog trainer Oleg Gazenko revealed in 1993. “The temperature inside the spacecraft after the fourth orbit registered over 90 degrees,” Lewis says. “There’s really no expectation that she made it beyond an orbit or two after that.”

        '

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Crew? More like modern day Laikas

      Talking about Raining on the Parade. OK, the crew was really cargo or maybe the first cruise spaceship passengers. But then, like with aircraft, things have developed somewhat in the 60 years since the first manned flight, people went from "intrepid explorers going up in string and canvas contraptions, taking their lives in their hands" to "yet another plane load of tourists bound for Costa Whatever".

      What SpaceX has really done is show both Virgin and Blue Origin just how much work they've got to do to be a credible space company. Especially as the booster and capsule used in this flight were used. That's quite an achievement -- and the 'crew' had in-flight entertainment as well. (Not to overlook the ukulele -- three days in a tin can with a ukulele...)

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Crew? More like modern day Laikas

        "(Not to overlook the ukulele -- three days in a tin can with a ukulele...)"

        Should have been a banjo instead...

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: Crew? More like modern day Laikas

          "Not to overlook the ukulele -- three days in a tin can with a ukulele..."

          Should have been a banjo instead...

          Should have been a banjolele and a little stick of Blackpool rock.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    ...in one piece.

    Fused together?

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: ...in one piece.

      Nomination for a Bad Taste Award.

    2. RedRichie

      Re: ...in one piece.

      Reminds me of Nightingale by Alastair Reynolds.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: ...in one piece.

        I would have said The Quatermass Experiment myself.

  3. Snapper

    Every breath you take...

    If Bono goes up, can they test the airlock?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Every breath you take...

      That would be pointless - is he not a divine being that is unlike us air breathing mortals?

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Every breath you take...

        "That would be pointless - is he not a divine being that is unlike us air breathing mortals?"

        This would need to be tested.

        For Science.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Every breath you take...

      They'd need another rocket on standby in case he forgot his hat.

      1. slimshady76

        Re: Every breath you take...

        And sunglasses. I bet he would choose them over the spacesuit's helmet in case of a sudden decompression event.

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          Re: Every breath you take...

          Too late

          https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/518617713333439235/

    3. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Re: Every breath you take...

      While I appreciate the joke, Sting sang that.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Every breath you take...

        "While I appreciate the joke, Sting sang that."

        Can we add him to the space walk? He can do some semi naked yoga if it helps.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Every breath you take...

        Sting - He has prior form when it comes to space...

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zPwMdZOlPo8

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Every breath you take...

          ..if they get stranded, he could send...

          A message in a bottle

    4. Ken G Silver badge

      Re: Every breath you take...

      In Space...No-one can hear you sing!

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    Maybe

    Musk should offer Bezos and Branson a seat apiece and say "you guys want to find out what its like to orbit the earth?"

    Then use a falcon heavy and lob them to Juptier.......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe

      Never mind about them - get rid of public enemy no. 1 - Trump!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Maybe

        Have 2 beers -->

        Though the 2nd pint is not for you, but for Jake to calm him down when sees Orange-UTrump has been mentioned

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Maybe

        "public enemy no. 1 - Trump!"

        Who?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Maybe

          John Dillinger.

          The best/worst thing to do to he who shall not be named is to just ignore him/not recognise him - that really would be unbearable to him

  5. Magani
    Angel

    Option #1

    "...learning what to do in case anything went wrong."

    Pray?

  6. Martin Summers

    The irony is. If the 200m hadn't been spent on the trip in the first place, they'd have immediately hit their funding goal.

    1. demon driver

      Indeed. And might one not ask beforehand whether this world is not fundamentally misorganised when, even in the part we call the first world, the funding of a world-renowned hospital leading in cancer research depends on the generosity of a few rich people?

      1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        How could you possibly organize it? No matter how much was spent on research of a specific disease it would not be enough for those who suffer from it or feel connected to someone who does. So there will always be private money chasing cures along with whatever public money is allocated.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      True. But how much publicity would that generate? And the guy wouldn't get to go to space while doing it.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        And neither would the 3 other lucky individuals, who now have an amazing story to tell. There may well be book rights and possibly a movie deal, all of which can raise even more money for the hospital.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "and possibly a movie deal,"

          Netflix already have the rights to the documentary tracing them through training, lift off, orbit and landing. That's why there was so little video broadcast from orbit.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            ...and, FWIW, I just watched the first episode. that Jared Isaacman guy comes across as a really nice and down to earth guy (pun intended :-))

            He appears to be self-made and is a self-confessed flight and space nut who put his dreams into action.

            From the Wikipedia page "In 2004, Isaacman began taking flying lessons. In 2009, he set a world record for circumnavigating the globe.[7][9] He received a bachelor's degree in professional aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2011. He is flight qualified in multiple military jet aircraft.[4] In his 20s, he flew in many airshows, but by his 30s, he had stopped flying as such.[8]

    3. Imhotep

      Where did you come up with the $200 million cost for the flight?

      I haven't seen the actual cost anywhere. This article says tens of millions, others have guessed at different amounts.

      But what do you care? A worthy charity got a great deal of money.

      1. Crypto Monad

        The BBC reports:

        "He [billionaire Jared Isaacman] had paid an undisclosed sum - estimated by Time magazine to be about $200 million (£145 million) - to fellow billionaire Elon Musk for all four seats aboard the Crew Dragon."

      2. Martin Summers

        "Where did you come up with the $200 million cost for the flight?

        I haven't seen the actual cost anywhere. This article says tens of millions, others have guessed at different amounts.

        But what do you care? A worthy charity got a great deal of money."

        Well, I read other news sites, I didn't just pluck the figure of of my ass. It would make sense to cost that amount given how much the Russians were charging for seats to space.

        Also, I don't care. I was just pointing out the irony. As for more money being raised for the Hospital from publicity and book deals etc. Well now that just is speculation. Although I'm sure they'll definitely get some side benefits.

    4. slimshady76

      Musk said "space is for all of us". Conditions might apply. A bank account sporting over 100 million dollars should be deemed necessary.

    5. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Half of that 100m came straight out of Isaacman's own pocket.

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    When I see...

    The trip was intended to raise $200m for Memphis-based St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which specializes in tackling cancer among other things. Inspiration4 said it raised nearly $154m, and SpaceX supremo Elon Musk added he would donate $50m, taking them over their target.

    When I see millions of charity and investment, I can't help but think that this is a tax fiddle.

    Wouldn't they just pay the ticket price and donated separately? Why corporation should involve charity in the transaction?

    1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: When I see...

      Because the publicity is worth something to all the parties involved. The more entities involved in the process the more cost effective the donation is in terms of promoting positive public images.

      And I am sure the tax benefits get divided among the parties so as to maximize those savings.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: When I see...

      How exactly did they raise the money?

      1. Martin Summers

        Re: When I see...

        "How exactly did they raise the money?"

        Generally the rich ask those poorer to put their hands in their pockets.

        Don't get me wrong, I give to charity and I earn an average amount. What I don't do is give to charity based on appeals from these people. The rich should fund raise amongst their friends and leave it at that. I'd feel so bloody hypocritical asking ordinary people for money for a good cause of I could donate more than most of the people I was asking.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: When I see...

          Maybe if they actually paid taxes at a level ordinary people and businesses pay, we wouldn't need this many charities in the first place.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: When I see...

            Boris is going to have a word with Jeff...

            https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/sep/19/boris-johnson-to-address-amazons-tax-record-with-jeff-bezos-on-us-visit

            who is most probably quaking in his space boots right now a the prospect of Boris demanding he pay more tax.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: When I see...

              Maybe Boris does not know our own laws and it's kind of confirming my first comment that Chancellor is not going to lift a finger to tax a family friend. Going to beg foreign company to pay tax, when he could just nudge HMRC to get to work, is a great display of weakness.

            2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: When I see...

              All Bezos has to do is to suggest that he'll commission an Amazon Prime TV programme - "The Greatest British Prime Minister since Churchill" with a nod and a wink, and Boris will think it's him and forget all about what he came to talk about and give Bezos some honorary title in next Birthday/New Year honours list.

      2. JassMan Silver badge

        Re: When I see...

        There is an interesting take on this story in the Grauniad. It seems some the actual cost of the flight probably came from Netflix funding the documentary about the flight and all the prep.

        Much is made of the $200 but basically it is an irrelevant figure since it has nothing to do with the flight at all other than this is the sponsorship funds given to the charity. As other stories have suggested, the actual cost was probably in the 10s of millions. However much it actually cost, it was probably good value at 3days and 45ish orbits when you compare it to almost $0.5M for a Virgin Galactic 30minute flight to the edge of space and straight back down or Blue Origin's 10minutes just out of measurable atmosphere.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Space tourism?

    Billionaires are careful to add 'ordinary people' to these flights for the PR value but the reality is that in our lifetime space tourism will always be the province of the mega wealthy.

    The only good thing to come out of this is the further verification that a far broader swath of humanity can be flown with minimal training which could have implications for scientists.

    +1 for that and +1 for SpaceX but -1,000,000,000 for the billionaires.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Space tourism?

      Billionaires are careful to add 'ordinary people' to these flights

      This is actually something billionaires can't have. Once they select someone 'ordinary', that person automatically stops being ordinary. They become the chosen one.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Space tourism?

        Old mathematical paradox: What is the smallest uninteresting number?

    2. Balvenie Doublewood

      Re: Space tourism?

      I see something similar to the early days of cars and also of powered flight, the toys of the wealthy.

      It didn't take long to become commonplace. We'll see what happens to spaceflight in the next decades

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Space tourism?

      I don't ever expect it to cost a few hundreds , or even thousands, given basic costs of fuel and equipment.

      But if capsules and rockets can start to be made in hundreds rather than single units, and if they can be reused hundreds of times (more like a modern airliner than a traditional rocket), and if capacity could be increased to say 20-50 people per flight, then costs could probably fall into tens of thousands per person.

      Still prohibitive for most people but something that the middle class can aspire to as a one-off after a lot of saving, just as now happens for a Maldives honeymoon or round-the-world cruise

      1. Mishak Silver badge

        Starship

        Elon said that fuel costs for Starship will be on the order of $2M per flight. The crew version will be able to carry 100 people to orbit, which gives a per-passenger fuel cost of $20,000.

        It's obviously going to be more than $2M per launch, but it is starting to look like saving for "the journey of a lifetime" is becoming more achievable for "normal" people.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The awesome part

    is that, in the future, we could lose both Bono and Tom Cruise in a fiery re-entry accident.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: The awesome part

      Davos wouldn't be the same without Bono

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Davos wouldn't be the same without Bono

        Perhaps we might arrange for the fiery descent to terminate on arrival at Davos, which would, I think, go some way to solving the problem you mention.

  10. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Spaceballs

    Sembroski, 42, a reliability engineer at Lockheed Martin who was seen calmly watching the movie Spaceballs on a tablet prior to liftoff.
    And also prior to the re-entry burn. I wonder how many times he watched it while they were up there.

  11. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Road trip

    Maybe. But it will never be the same without Belushi.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Two hundred million?

    And I have to share a room with three others?

    Bah!

    1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Re: Two hundred million?

      That rather depends on which three.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Two hundred million?

        You planning on joining the 367 mile high club?

  13. Aussie Doc
    Pint

    "space is for all of us".

    Sorry, just checked my bank balance.

    Apparently space isn't for me anytime soon.

    Unless I give up my cider ---->

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: "space is for all of us".

      Eh, just remember how airline flights used to be thousands of dollars (and still should be, IMHO)

  14. C-Clef

    A naive question.

    Just how many tonnes of planet warming gas has been emitted during this "little rich boy" jaunt?

    If it's a great deal, how do they intend to offset their footprint?

    Not that I'm against genuine scientific research; far from it.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: A naive question.

      While they might not be there yet, SpaceX does have plans to be carbon neutral in the future.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like