A four-person amateur crew took off on SpaceX’s first private flight into space on Wednesday night, marking one of the most ambitious forays into space tourism yet. The launch comes just two months after Virgin Atlantic and Blue Origin completed brief space skimming private flights around the Earth’s orbit.
It was called Inspiration4 because it was the first orbital trip in which no professional astronauts participated. The mission, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, included four Americans, including two contest winners, a health-care worker, and the mission’s billionaire sponsor, Jared Isaacman.
Other passengers on the trip include Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a medical professional and bone cancer survivor, Chris Sembroski, 42, a data engineer, and Dr. Sian Proctor, a community college instructor, all of whom are under the age of 50.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is carrying the passengers, who are expected to spend three days circling the planet multiple times at an altitude of up to 360 miles onboard the spacecraft.
Using SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon capsule was safely launched into orbit. Following the launch, the first-stage booster utilised for the mission was securely landed on an ocean platform.
According to the Associated Press, Arceneaux, who is 29 years old, has become the youngest American to go to space, as well as the first space traveller to do so while wearing a prosthetic, a titanium rod in her left leg.
Administrator Bill Nelson thanked the mission’s operators on Twitter, writing: “Low-Earth orbit is now more accessible to a greater number of individuals who want to see the marvels of space.” It is with great anticipation that we look forward to a future in which NASA is only one of many clients in the commercial space sector. It’s time to go forward! As a member of the United States House of Representatives representing the state of Florida, Nelson participated in a mission aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist in 1986 while still serving in that capacity.
As a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee—where Arceneaux is employed—the Inspiration4 mission will take place over the course of the mission. Isaacman has committed to give $100 million of his own wealth to the hospital, and he is hoping to collect an additional $100 million via contributions to supplement his gift.