Elon Musk’s SpaceX has just launched its first all civilian crewed mission into space. This marks the first commercial spaceflight for the company, following Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. The mission included four civilians with no pilots on board. The mission was dubbed Inspiration4 and is the latest entry by space companies. The crew included Jared Isaacman, a trained pilot and the founder of Shift4 Payments Inc.
As it turns out, Isaacman was the sole financier of the three-day journey. He also picked three others to join him on his journey to space. Joining him were Hayley Arceneaux (a 29-year-old physician assistant and cancer survivor), Christopher Sembroski (a data engineer at Lockheed Martin), and Sian Proctor (a geoscientist and former NASA astronaut candidate).
SpaceX Flight Experience
The flight was made using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. With the crew buckled inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience capsule. The company also posted captured footage from the Crew Dragon capsule showing the Earth with a marble-like appearance. This view is only possible because the shuttle is orbiting 160 km (100 miles) above the International Space Station (ISS). The Crew Dragon is currently orbiting Earth at an altitude of 575 km (358 miles), giving it a round appearance.
The crew will be orbiting Earth for three days conducting various scientific experiments in microgravity conditions. Previously the FAA changed the definition of an astronaut. According to them, a crew has to fly into space and contribute to the flight itself. The SpaceX crew will probably not be considered astronauts as the shuttle is on a fixed path. Despite them being the farthest human spaceflight since NASA’s 2009 space mission to repair the Hubble telescope.
Elon Musk also posted a picture with SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew members just before the launch. The mission is part of a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Isaacman has already donated $100 million to the hospital and hopes to raise another $100 million with the Inspiration4 mission. So far, the fundraiser has raised about $30.8 million.