The first all-civilian astronaut crew to reach orbit have appeared in a live video feed featuring weightless flips and a ukulele performance.
The crew of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 broadcast a 10-minute live YouTube video showing Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old data engineer, strumming chords while the craft orbits Earth.
The four-member team hosted a show-and-tell session as they soared over Europe at about 17,500mph.
Go to the 16-minute mark for Mr Sembroski’s ukulele performance:
Sian Proctor, 51, a geoscientist and former NASA astronaut candidate, showed off a piece of artwork she had made in orbit showing the Crew Dragon capsule being carried into space by an actual dragon.
Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a physician assistant at St Jude Children’s Research Center in Tennessee, where she was treated for cancer herself as a child, performed flips to illustrate microgravity.
“Hayley is a champ at spinning. She’s been spinning from the moment we got in orbit,” Ms Proctor said.
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Ms Arceneaux showed a small plush-toy dog in a white coat, which the crew use to indicate they are in zero-gravity.
They said when the toy floats freely in the cabin, they know they are in zero-G.
The dog is inspired by one of the golden retrievers which serve as comfort dogs for young St Jude patients.
Image: Inspiration4 crew Jared Isaacman, Sian Proctor, Hayley Arceneaux, and Chris Sembroski, seen on their first day in space
Image: The four-member team hosted a show-and-tell session as they sped over Europe at about 17,500mph over Europe
The crew also attempted to show off spectacular views of Earth through the capsule’s cupola (a dome-shaped window), but the spacecraft flew into Earth’s own shadow.
Ms Proctor said she could see an aurora borealis display, a spectacular lights showing akin to the Northern Lights, but it did not show up well on the camera.
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From ground to orbit: Day one of SpaceX launch
The astronauts have also phoned friends, family, and supporters such as Elon Musk and Tom Cruise.
They also appeared by video on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday for the ringing of the closing bell.
Meet the crew of the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission
Image: Jared Isaacman looks through the craft’s cupola
The flight was funded by billionaire Jared Isaacman, chief executive of e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments Inc, and a crew member.
He paid SpaceX’s Mr Musk an undisclosed sum for the flight, which is reported to be roughly $200m (£146m).
He hopes to raise the same amount for St Jude and has said his donation will make up half of that amount.
Image: Earth as seen from the Inspiration4
Inspiration4 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday.
SpaceX has announced that the crew are expected to return to Earth on Saturday, with splashdown in the Atlantic off Florida’s coast set for just after 11pm GMT.
On Friday, the spacecraft completed two rocket “burns” to reduce altitude and line up the capsule’s trajectory with the landing site.
Source : Sky News