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WASHINGTON: A 42-year-old data engineer made spaceflight history Friday by playing a guitar during zero gravity among the first all-civilian astronaut crew to reach outer space in a SpaceX craft hundreds of miles above Earth.
Lockheed Martin’s Chris Sembrowski and a US Air Force veteran performed for spectators in their homes during a 10-minute session of the four-member “Inspiration4” team as they flew at 28,000 kilometers per hour over Europe.
And SpaceX, owned by high-tech mogul Elon Musk and CEO of electric car maker Tesla, later announced that the crew was expected to return to Earth on Saturday.
The craft is scheduled to land shortly after 7 p.m. EDT (23:00 GMT) in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
Mission officials said the astronauts spent most of their first 48 hours in space in social contact, including phone calls with family, friends and supporters like Musk and Hollywood star Tom Cruise. The pioneers also appeared via a video link at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday to ring the closing bell.
Billionaire Jared Isakman, CEO of e-commerce company Shift For Bits, paid Musk an undisclosed sum for the trip. Time magazine estimated the cost of SpaceX’s first space tourism trip to be around $200 million — and Sembrowski wasn’t alone in showing off his skills while in space.
Shiyan Proctor, 51, a geologist and former NASA astronaut candidate, showed off a piece of her artwork while in space, a drawing she described as a real dragon pulling the Crew Dragon off Earth.
Hayley Arsino, 29, a medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Center in Tennessee who was a childhood cancer patient, circled around the booth to give viewers a sense of zero gravity.
“Hayley is a spinning champ,” Proctor said. It spins from the moment we enter orbit.”
– SpaceX (SpaceX) September 17, 2021
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