SpaceX will launch four space tourists on a three-day trip in space. Here’s everything you need to know

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This mission, called Inspiration 4, is the first orbital mission in the history of spaceflight to be manned entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts.

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The launch took place Wednesday from 8:02 a.m. to 1:02 p.m. ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County, Florida, though forecasters are keeping a close eye on storms that could affect the mission.

The three-day trip will see the quartet fly free-flying through Earth’s orbit, circling the planet once every 90 minutes while passengers float, excited by microgravity, and take in panoramic views of our home planet. take the To end the journey, his spacecraft will dive back into the atmosphere for a furious re-entry and drop off the coast of Florida. And yes, for all three days in space, passengers will have to share a special zero-gravity-friendly toilet located near the top of the capsule. There will be no showers available, and the crew will all have to sleep in the same reclined seats they ride during launch.


This is the first time civilians have traveled to space. Although NASA has been opposed to signing non-astronauts for routine missions following the death of New Jersey schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Challenger disaster in 1986, a group of wealthy thrill-seekers Paid his way to the International Space Station in the 2000s through a company called Space Adventures. American investment management billionaire Dennis Tito became the first person to self-fund a trip in 2001, with his eight-day stay on the International Space Station, and six others followed him. They all booked rides on Russian Soyuz spacecraft with professional astronauts.

However, the mission has been billed as the beginning of a new era of space travel, in which average people undertake space exploration rather than government-selected astronauts and the occasional deep-pocketed adventurer.

But to be clear, we are still far from that reality, and that journey is still far from “average.” It’s a custom, one-time mission financed by a billionaire founder of a payments processing company, and although pricing details have not been made public, it could cost more than $200 million. (according to a official reportSpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule costs about $55 million per seat.)
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Here’s a detailed description of what’s happening and why it matters.

Travelers: A Billionaire, a Cancer Survivor, a Geologist and a Raffle Winner

  • Jared Isaacman, 38, the billionaire founder of payment processing company Shift4, who is also personally funding the entire mission
  • Hayley Arsinaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who now works as a physician assistant at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was treated. She will be the first person with a prosthetic body to go into space, and she will serve as the flight’s chief medical officer. According to a Netflix documentary, St. Jude chose Archinox as Isaacman’s request for this mission, and, at the time, she said she was so unfamiliar with space travel that she asked if she would travel to the Moon, Unaware that man has not stepped on the moon in 50 years.
  • Sean Proctor, 51, a geologist and educator who was selected for a seat on this mission Post On social media in which she highlights her space-related artistry and entrepreneurial spirit. She will be only the fourth black woman in America to travel the class.
  • Chris Sambrowski, 42, a Seattle-based Lockheed Martin employee and former camp counselor at Alabama’s famed Space Camp. He won his seat via an entered raffle donated to St Jude Children’s Hospital, although he was not the official winner. His friend snatched the seat and transferred him after deciding not to go it him.
Isaacman — who will become the third billionaire in the past three months to self-fund space travel and the first to buy orbit travel aboard a SpaceX capsule — is billing the mission as one he hopes will take over. Space will be daring, hence the name of the mission, Prerna 4. She is also using it as the centerpiece for a $200 million fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, of which $100 million she has donated in person and the rest she plans to raise through online donations and an upcoming hoping auction.

So far, a fundraiser has brought in $30 million of its $100 million goal.

How did all this happen?

Inspiration 4 is entirely the brainchild of Jared Isaacman and SpaceX.

Isaacman began flying single-engine prop planes recreationally in the mid-2000s and developed an insatiable thirst to go higher and faster, eventually moving to twin-engined planes, then jets, then military-class aircraft. who can exceed the speed of sound.

Jared Isaacman visits SpaceX and meets with Elon Musk before the mission is announced in February 2021.

Isaacman’s fellow passengers were each selected in a different way: they asked St. Jude to select a cancer-survivor-to-health-care provider, and the organization chose Arsinox. Proctor won an online contest exclusively for those who use Shift4, powered by payment platform Isaacman. And Sambrowski was given his seat by a man who won a raffle for those donating to St. Jude. (Sembroski also entered the raffle but was not the original winner.)

Isaacman told Granthshala Business that he sat down with SpaceX to hash the flight profiles. He specifically wanted Crew Dragon to orbit a higher altitude than the International Space Station, which is why the spacecraft would orbit about 350 miles from Earth—about 100 miles from where the space station orbits up.

How risky is this?

There are risks whenever a spacecraft leaves Earth, and there is no precise measurement to predict them.

But NASA estimates that Crew Dragon has 1 chance out of 270 of catastrophic failure on the basis of a metric The space agency uses. For comparison, NASA’s Space Shuttle missions from the 1980s to the early 2000s eventually recorded a failure rate of about 1 in every 68 missions.

Because of the inherent risks of destroying a spacecraft at more than 17,500 mph — the speed that allows an object to enter Earth orbit — Inspire 4 is a brief, up-and-down review made by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. More dangerous than the bottom suborbital jaunt. .

How SpaceX and NASA Overcame a Bitter Culture Clash to Bring Back US Astronaut Launches
In addition to the many dangers of launch – in which rockets essentially use controlled explosions more powerful than most wartime bombs in order to gain enough speed to overcome gravity – there is also the re-entry process. When returning from orbit, Crew Dragon’s outdoor temperature can reach 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and astronauts can experience 4.5 GS Force pushes them to their seats, while the always-dense atmosphere swirls around the capsule.

During a Netflix documentary about the Inspiration 4 mission, Musk described a capsule as “coming like a blazing meteor” through reentry.

“And so it’s hard not to vaporize,” he said.

Crew Dragon then has to deploy a parachute to slow its descent and make a safe splashdown at sea before the rescue ships can take the four passengers back to dry land.

Despite the risks, a former NASA President And carrier safety officials have said that the Crew Dragon is possibly the safest crew vehicle ever built.

Vehicle: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon

All four passengers will spend the entire mission aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, a 13-foot-wide, gumdrop-shaped spacecraft that separates from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket once it reaches orbital speed.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was developed by Elon Musk’s rocketry company for the specific purpose of carrying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station, which it did for the first time in May 2020.
From left to right: Chris Sambrowski, Hayley Arsinaux, Dr. Sean Proctor, Jared Isaacman.

Since then, SpaceX has launched two additional Crew Dragon missions for NASA.

However, SpaceX is allowed to sell seats — or entire missions — to whichever company the company chooses. Although NASA paid for most of Crew Dragon’s development, under the terms of the deal between the federal agency and the company, SpaceX still technically owns and operates the vehicle and whoever is using it for commercial purposes. could.

Missions to Crew Dragon in the near future also include a mix of NASA-commissioned flights to the ISS and space tourism missions.

For this mission, Crew Dragon will be retrofitted with a giant glass dome at the tip of the spacecraft, specially designed for the crew to soak in panoramic views of the universe.


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