SpaceX successfully launches all-civilian Inspiration4 mission: Details here
SpaceX has successfully launched the Inspiration4 mission's Crew Dragon spacecraft on September 15 using a Falcon 9 rocket. The mission intends to raise funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The flight is commanded by Shift4 Payments founder and CEO, Jared Isaacman, and the crew comprises geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor, physician assistant (chief medical officer) Hayley Arceneaux, and mission specialist Chris Sembroski. Here's more.
Inspiration4 successfully blasted off at 8:02 pm EDT
Inspiration4 mission is a landmark in human spaceflight since it's the first mission to send only civilians to space. SpaceX's Sarah Gillis gave a final sign-off to the crew before launch at 8:02pm EDT (5:32am IST Thursday) saying: "It has been an absolute honor to prepare you for this historic flight. Today you are truly inspiring the world. We wish you a great mission."
Few minutes in, first stage separation succeeds, begins descent
The rocket successfully lifted off at the scheduled time and just a few minutes into the flight, the first booster stage of the Falcon 9 rocket separated and began preparation to descend back to Earth. Approximately six minutes after separation, the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage completed its entry burn to land on the drone ship named "Just Read The Instructions."
'Few have come before, and many are about to follow'
The Crew Dragon capsule—named Resilience—separated from the Falcon 9 upper stage, which officially put the spacecraft into orbit. Interestingly, the crew has a little stuffed golden retriever toy as their zero-g indicator. Approximately 10 minutes into the flight, Isaacman was heard on SpaceX's live stream saying, "Few have come before, and many are about to follow. The door's open now and it's pretty incredible."
Stuffed toy zero-g indicator represents St. Jude's retrievers
SpaceX concluded the live stream after the Inspiration4 crew was injected into orbit. Before closing, SpaceX officials said that the all-civilian crew will soon get to peer through the new cupola window on the Crew Dragon. The glass dome is the single largest spacecraft window to ever fly to space. The aforementioned stuffed toy also represents retrievers, Puggle and Huckleberry, at St. Jude Hospital.
Crew will witness 15 sunrises and sunsets every day
Now, the Crew Dragon is orbiting Earth at an altitude of 585 kilometers, about 9.6 kilometers higher than originally planned. The spacecraft attained this altitude after several phasing burns (firing thrusters). This is an altitude record for the spacecraft. It will complete one orbit around Earth every 90 minutes, thus witnessing 15 sunrises and sunsets every day.