SpaceX successfully launched its Inspiration4 mission into orbit on Wednesday. With that, Elon Musk's company accomplished several milestones.
At the NASA Florida Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39, the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rockets launched the Crew Dragon capsule "Resilience" into space. Inspiration4 crew members onboard the spacecraft include commander Jared Isaacman, pilot Sian Proctor, mission specialist Chris Sembroski, and medical officer Hayley Arceneaux.
Insipration4's mission is a multiday trip to space, paid by Isaacman, with a goal to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
SpaceX Inspiration4 Launch: Full Video of the First All-Civilian Crew Flight
The SpaceX official YouTube account streamed the Inspiration4 launch on their channel live. The video started four hours before launch time, 8:02 PM EDT. The video featured highlights like crew training, flight preparation and boarding. The video also included messages and reactions from each crew member. The launch sequence started at the four-hour marker.
It is worth noting that none of the Inspiration4 crew members are professional astronauts. Isaacman was a full-time CEO of Shift4 Payments; Arceneaux is a hospital employee and bone cancer survivor; Proctor is a geology professor and science communicator; and Sembroski is a data engineer.
All crew members received six months of commercial astronaut training for their space mission. Their achievements as amateur astronauts marked a historic spaceflight mission for SpaceX. According to CNBC, some of the milestones they accomplished are:
- First entirely nonprofessional crew to become astronauts
- First Black female pilot of spaceflight
- Youngest American citizen to fly in space
- First private SpaceX spaceflight
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell described the mission as "paving the way for a future where space is more accessible to all who wish to go," per CNBC.
Spaceflight Now recently tweeted that the SpaceX Crew Dragon reached the 585km orbit, a new Dragon altitude record. This adds yet another point to their long list of achievements.
SpaceX says two post-launch phasing burns by Crew Dragon's Draco thrusters placed the capsule in a circular 363-mile-high (585km) orbit, a new Dragon altitude record.— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) September 16, 2021
The Inspiration4 mission is set to return to Earth around 7pm EDT (2300 GMT) Saturday.https://t.co/K03ErG8ZHF
SpaceX Launch: Inspiration4 Live Tracker
Inspiration4 is set for a three-day drift around Earth's orbit. Inspiration4 crew are predicted to return to Earth by Saturday, 7 PM EDT, via splashdown off the coast of Florida.
With their current height, Inspiration4 crew members will conduct experiments to expand human knowledge about the universe. The Crew Dragon carried equipment dedicated to micro-gravity research and experimentation. They also hope to overcome barriers to traditional space-based research.
Fans interested in Inspiration4 development could follow their progress with two online trackers.
First is the Inspiration4 official news webpage. Researchers and related personnel in the space mission constantly update this page with crew blog posts, press releases, and news updates.
Another source is the SpaceX Twitter page. SpaceX post many real-time updates about the Inspiration4 mission. Minutes after the launch, the webpage already tweeted a "view from Dragon's cupola." This is the glass dome window, recently attached to Dragon Capsule in place of an opening hatch.
View from Dragon’s cupola pic.twitter.com/Z2qwKZR2lK— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021