- SpaceX’s Inspiration 4 mission will launch four civilians into orbit on Wednesday
- They’ll be aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule with domed windows
- SpaceX launch follows earlier space flights by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin
The world’s first all-civilian mission to space, called Inspiration 4, is scheduled to launch tomorrow.
The historic mission, piloted by billionaire Elon Musk’s firm SpaceX, will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida just after 8:02 a.m. EDT Wednesday (1:02 p.m. BST Thursday) during a five-hour window.
It is sending four civilians – Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arsinaux, Sean Proctor and Chris Sambrowski – on a three-day orbital flight around Earth.
A ‘Proven Jet Pilot’ According to Inspiration4 WebsiteIsaacman, the mission’s commander, is funding the trip in a private deal made with SpaceX.
The team will be aboard a specially modified version of SpaceX’s capsule Crew Dragon, which will have a domed window or ‘cupola’ to allow for some of the most sensational views of space.
Inspire 4 is the latest in a line of ambitious space flights launched by billionaire CEOs, following up on the likes of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin earlier this summer.
Inspiration4 Crew (LR) Chris Sambrowski, Sean Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arsinox pose for a photo. – The Inspiration 4 mission will only send civilians into space for several days aboard a SpaceX rocket
Inspire 4 Crew
–Jared Isaacman, CEO of Shift4 Payments
–Sean Proctor, a community college teacher in Arizona
–Chris Sambrowski, a former Air Force missileman from Washington
—Haley Arsinox, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee
Last week, the Inspiration 4 website confirmed that the four-person team had arrived in Florida on Thursday, a day after completing their final day of astronaut training at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
“Following arrival, SpaceX and Inspiration 4 teams met yesterday evening to review flight readiness and an early weather briefing,” it said.
The website also confirmed Monday that the five-hour launch window opens Wednesday at 8:02 p.m. EDT.
“If required for any reason, a backup window will be available on Thursday, September 16 at 8:05 p.m. EDT,” it added.
The 45th Weather Squadron of the US Space Force has predicted a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions for liftoff.
The four-man team, under the command of Isaacman, will be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Isaacman is the CEO of Shift4 Payments, while Proctor is a community college teacher in Arizona, Chris Sambroski is a former Air Force missileman in Washington, and Hayley Arsinox, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.
Inspiration4 is designed primarily to raise awareness and support for the Pediatric Cancer Center, which successfully treated Arsinox for bone cancer in childhood.
SpaceX’s capsule Crew Dragon has a domed window or ‘cupola’ to allow some sensational views of space for the four-person crew.
SpaceX has revealed a new photo of the glass dome that people will see every day in space in its upcoming Inspire 4 mission.
Arceneaux was named to the squad in February, while Proctor was announced in March.
While this is not the first time civilians have traveled to space, it is the first mission to be conducted entirely by civilians.
Crew Dragon will orbit Earth for only three days, completing an orbit every 90 minutes with an optimized flight path as it travels at more than 17,000 mph.
Its progress will be carefully monitored every step of the way by SpaceX Mission Control.
SpaceX says: ‘At the conclusion of the mission, Dragon will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere to cool waters off the coast of Florida.’
Jared Isaacman, left to right, Hayley Arsinaux, Sean Proctor and Chris Sambrowski make up the Inspiration4 crew
Image courtesy of Inspiration4 Mission Commander Jared Isaacman, Founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments
The Inspiration 4 crew received commercial astronaut training by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, performing low gravity and other forms of stress testing prior to the trip.
Isaacman previously told DailyMail.com, ‘It will take several months of training.
Crew Dragon’s 365lbs of cargo capacity is allocated for both crew essentials as well as dedicated scientific equipment for micro-gravity research and experimentation.
Isaacman said, ‘When we’re up we’re going to get the payload and go to the experiment.
‘We offered to pick up payloads from St. Jude’s and other places because the waiting list is too long.’
Musk told after Inspiration4 announcement in February NBC News: ‘Any mission where there’s a crew on board bothers me. The risk is not zero.
‘When you have a brand new mode of transportation, you have to pioneer. Things are expensive at first, and as you are able to increase launch rates, increase production rates, refine technology, it becomes less expensive and accessible to more people.
‘We’ll be with Jared throughout the journey and we’ll see it in real time. This is an important milestone in making access to space more affordable.
A shot of the Inspiration 4 suit, adorned with patches representing the four pillars of the mission – leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity
A few days later, a 30-second advertisement aired during the Superbowl break, instructing potential Inspire 4 crew members to apply on their website.
The ad displayed close-up shots of SpaceX suits, adorned with patches representing the mission’s four pillars – leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity.
These four pillars also correspond to the four members of the crew-…