- SpaceX has funded a mission, Inspiration4, which plans to carry four untrained civilians to space
- The launch is set to kick off at Cape Canaveral, Florida following which it will orbit the Earth thrice and in the end splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean
- SpaceX founder Elon Musk believes with this mission the doors to space tourism will open for the common man
- SpaceX will launch four civilians—Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor, and Chris Sembroski—to orbit, and they will circle Earth repeatedly for three days before splashing down off the coast of Florida by Sep. 15
- SpaceX mission Inspiration4, which is carrying four untrained civilians to space
- The launch took place today at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida following which it will orbit the Earth thrice and in the end splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean
With the emerging trends of population outbursts, a rapid increase in the number of humans on Earth has been witnessed. This has resulted in two major outcomes. Number one, the pressure on various resources on Earth has reached a breaking point. Number two, scores of space exploration companies such as SpaceX, looking to colonise other suitable planets for humanity have cropped up as well.
What is the Inspiration4 mission?
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), is an American space transportation and communication services company launched by Elon Musk in 2002. Today, SpaceX created history, by launching a first of its kind “all civilian mission to orbit the planet Earth” called Inspiration4. This company has invalidated the age-old belief that only “astronauts” can go to space.
The logistics of Inspiration4
Inspiration4 utilises a state of the art Falcon 9 rocket equipped with a Crew Dragon C2017 Capsule named Resilience. The Falcon 9 rocket is an amazing innovation by SpaceX as it has a reusable booster which returned back to the company’s ocean droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. This is the third successful landing for this rocket booster.
As for the Crew Dragon Resilience capsule, it was a second trip to space as it carried the four member crew into orbit successfully. However, in certain ways this capsule has also been tweaked for this historic mission. The new capsule features a modified massive window for the crew. This window replaces the old docking hatch and offers the crew a greater field of vision for this once in a lifetime trip to space.
The Faces of Inspiration4
Inspiration4 goes down in history as a milestone due to its crew consisting of untrained astronauts who set a number of records on a personal front by embarking on this spaceflight. SpaceX also directed the crew to carry a unique item of their choice during the course of their journey.
Next, we have Sian Proctor. She is an American geology professor. She won her seat by using the e-commerce platform of Shift4Shop to sell space-themed artwork and clothing.
And lastly, Hayley Arceneaux who works as a physician assistant at St Jude’s Children Research Hospital. She is a bone cancer survivor and received her treatment in this very hospital. And she will be the first person with a prosthetic body part to go into space.
- Inspiration4 set four major records with its launch today, from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida:
- It became the first mission to carry entirely untrained civilians to space
- Sian Proctor became the first black female pilot of a spaceflight
- Hayley Acreneaux became the youngest American citizen to fly in space
- Hayley Acreneaux also became the first woman with a prosthetic body part to go to space
- Inspiration4 became the first commercial/ private SpaceX spaceflight
NASA’s message of support
NASA administrator Pamela Melroy spoke on the organization’s behalf to voice their support of SpaceX’s mission. She remarked how Inspiration4 was a prime example of great feats which can be achieved if public and private sectors come together. Melroy tweeted her views on how this mission bridges the gap on the reality of commercial space travel in a low economic setting for the future of the Earth. The CrewDragon Resilience capsule was built by SpaceX with a heavy investment from NASA.
Musk’s Bigger Picture
Elon Musk has been a long-standing patron of space exploration. Specifically, he has been highly vocal about building human settlements on the planet of Mars. SpaceX has recently shown research to prove that environmental conditions on Mars have the optimum abilities to support human life in the future. Hence, it comes as no surprise that this very company sets the milestone for an untrained common man to reach space.
Although Musk has not frequently kept in touch with the Inspiration4 crew, as reported by recruit Proctor, he is indeed passionate about it. He recently shared a picture of the Falcon 9 rocket on his Twitter feed. He has been quoted numerous times saying that he wants humans to have the title of being “ a spacefaring civilization.”
Recently, the world has witnessed a space race amongst the richest men on Earth. A common example being, Amazon ex-CEO Jeff Bezos. Such men have established by example that space travel is only available either to trained astronauts or rich tycoons able to bear the cost of a million-dollar ticket. But, with Musk’s progressive ideas at the helm, SpaceX has opened doors for space tourism for the common man. How humanity settles into space or the vast spectrum of opportunities it holds, will be interesting to note.