SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, is known to have made history. It was the first private spaceflight company to transport astronauts to the International Space Station and the first to develop a reusable rocket thruster. On September 18, 2021, the American aerospace company does it again by making the very first allcivil space mission.
The Crew Dragon capsule, carrying Inspiration4 crew members, splashed off the coast of Florida at 7:06 p.m., marking the end of its three days orbit around the Earth. The amateur astronauts – 38-year-old technician contractor Jared Isaacman, Sian Proctor, 51-year-old geoscientist, Chris Sembroski, 42-year-old aerospace data engineer, and Hayley Arceneaux, 29-year-old medical assistant, were quickly whipped in Florida continent in a helicopter.
The quartet took off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., shortly after 8:00 p.m. EDT on September 15, 2021. Within three hours, the spacecraft had reached final cruise orbital altitude of just over 357 miles (575 km). This is higher than the International Space Station or the Hubble Space Telescope, and the farthest civil traveled above the Earth. Crew Dragon circled the Earth every 90 minutes at a speed of 27,360 km / h, or about 22 times the speed of sound.
During their three days stay in space, amateur astronauts conducted scientific research into how their bodies were setting weightless environment. They also spent time getting to know each other, chatting with their families, and taking in the spectacular views of Earth from the spaceship’s huge windows. In a live broadcast shared by SpaceX, Proctor showed off artwork she had made in space, while Sembroski was seen strumming a ukulele.
The first civilian flight also featured a philanthropic mission. Isaacman – who bought the four seats for an estimated $ 220 million – used the important trip to raise funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The billionaire kicked off the effort by donating $ 100 million before at launch. An additional $ 500,000 was raised from the public after the launch. Upon the crew’s return, SpaceX founder Elon Musk paid $ 50 million for the worthy cause.
With the success of the Inspiration4 mission, SpaceX hopes ramp until his commercial space program up to six flights per year. Unfortunately, at least for now, they will be limit to those who can to afford to spend millions of dollars on a ticket.
Resources: Space.com, SpaceX.com, CNN.com,