Daily US Times: SpaceX launches first all-tourist crew into orbit as four amateur astronauts have blasted off from Florida on their private mission to orbit.
The Inspiration 4 crew rode out of the Kennedy Space Center in a Dragon capsule provided by the SpaceX rocket company. The crew comprising one billionaire and three “ordinary citizens”.
They will spend the next three days circling the Earth.
The new development is another milestone in the space tourism market, which is experiencing a resurgence after a decade’s hiatus.
Billionaire businessmen Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos went above Earth’s atmosphere earlier this summer in their own space vehicles.
And following this latest mission, there will be two privateer visits to the International Space Station (ISS) – one in October and a second early in the New Year.
The Inspiration4 crew of Sian Proctor, Chris Sembroski, Jared Issacman and Hayley Arceneaux have had six months of intensive training with SpaceX. However, onboard computer systems will be in control of their Dragon capsule, overseen by SpaceX teams on the ground.
The SpaceX Dragon is not going anywhere near the ISS. It is on a “free flight” to a target altitude of 360 miles (575km). That is about 150km above the orbiting laboratory, and roughly the height from where the Hubble Space Telescope views the cosmos.
Even if they do not have a destination as such, the four crews will have plenty to keep them occupied. They have taken up scientific experiments to be conducted inside their Dragon capsule, and SpaceX has modified capsule to include a big window, which the crew is sure to be using during downtime to wonder at the Earth below.