SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission has put four civilians into space, the first time that there are no professionals among astronauts.
It is also SpaceX’s first fully commercial mission ; The client has not been NASA, as happened in past launches, in which Elon Musk’s company helped put satellites into orbit or take astronauts to the International Space Station.
This is therefore a unique launch and presumably the first of many in this new space age, in which private projects fill the gap previously occupied by government organizations. It also represents SpaceX’s commitment to space tourism, since the mission will be something different than usual.
The “commander” of the mission is Jared Isaacman, the CEO of the company Shift4 Payments, whose fortune has allowed him to pay the 55 million dollars for each of the four seats of the Crew Dragon capsule, launched by a Falcon 9 rocket. However, that does not mean that no one in the capsule knows anything about what is happening; Isaacman has extensive experience as a fighter pilot and other aircraft, and with his companions he has received the necessary launch training, although most of the work is done from the ground.
These companions were chosen by Isaacman himself, and each one has a story. Hayley Arcenaux is a nurse in a hospital specializing in cancer treatments for children and is a survivor of one; At 29, she is the youngest American to reach orbit. For his part, Christopher Sembroski won his seat after donating to that hospital, and Sian Proctor won a contest that sought the best viral video, curiously being the best prepared for the mission, having presented for the selection of NASA astronauts in 2009.
View from Dragon’s cupola pic.twitter.com/Z2qwKZR2lK
?? SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021
The four of them will spend three days in space , simply orbiting the Earth at 575 kilometers, with a perfect inclination so that the Crew Dragon vault offers them the best views; This vault is not part of the original design of the capsule, but was added by eliminating the docking system for the ISS, which is not necessary in this mission.
The objective of the mission, in fact, is to collect donations of 200 million dollars for the fight against cancer and other diseases, although during the time they will spend in orbit they will also carry out scientific research, including an experiment on the effects of radiation on biological tissues.
The launch took place without problems, something that already begins to be little surprising considering that it was the 23rd of the Falcon 9 rocket only in this 2021; it also managed to land without problems, the method by which SpaceX can reuse components, reduce costs and thus allow such launches without government funding, which would not normally be possible due to their high cost.