A SpaceX capsule carrying the first all-civilian crew into space has touched back down on Earth after three days in orbit.
The four amateur astronauts orbited the planet every 90 minutes at a speed of more than 17,000mph and an altitude of up to 363 miles – higher than the International Space Station and Hubble Telescope – during their time in space.
Their dragon capsule safely parachuted into the ocean just before sunset on Saturday, off the Florida coast where the private flight began three days ago.
Commander Jared Isaacman, pilot Sian Proctor, medical officer Hayley Arceneaux and mission specialist Chris Sembrosk took part in the Inspiration4 mission, making them first to circle the world without a professional astronaut.
“Your mission has shown the world that space is for all of us,” SpaceX Mission Control radioed as the capsule landed.
“It was a heck of a ride for us… just getting started,” replied trip sponsor Mr Isaacman, hinting at more private flights in the future.
Mr Isaacman, a billionaire, paid undisclosed millions for the trip for himself and his three guests.
The group wanted to show that ordinary people could blast into orbit by themselves, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk took them on as the company’s first rocket-riding tourists.
They were treated to unparalleled views of earth during their time in orbit through a large bubble-shaped window added to the top of the capsule.
The group are tje first space travellers to end their flight in the Atlantic since Apollo 9 in 1969. SpaceX’s two previous crew splashdowns – carrying astronauts for NASA – were in the Gulf of Mexico.