Kennedy Space Center, Florida — A SpaceX rocket took off from the lunchpad here on Wednesday night, and four Americans embarked on an adventure around the globe for three days.
There are no crew members working at NASA. The mission, known as Inspiration 4, is the first orbital trip in which everyone on board is not a professional astronaut, and the government is generally a bystander and observer.
When the nine engines of the Falcon 9 rocket ignited and lifted the rocket and its passengers into space, there were few clouds in the evening sky.
Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire and founder of payment processing service Shift4, has funded this trip. As the commander of the mission, he thanked those who made it possible and said it took him and his crew to an “exciting and unexplored frontier gateway.”
“Some have come before, but many will continue,” he said. “The door is open now, and it’s pretty incredible.”
Isaacman’s public profile is far less noticeable than the profiles of the two billion billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos who flew to the edge of space in a company-owned vehicle in July. Those trips lasted only a few minutes before returning to the ground.
But Isaacman’s three-day adventure is probably more remarkable, a step towards a future where space travel has become like today’s air travel and is accessible to almost everyone.
That’s because Isaacman decided that he wouldn’t just bring his friends on this space trip. Instead, he opened up an opportunity for three people he didn’t know.
“We set out to convey a very exciting message from the beginning, and chose to do so through an interesting crew selection process,” Isaacman said at a press conference on Tuesday. I did.
As a result, a mission to carry crew members representing a wider society has been realized. Haley Arseno, a 29-year-old doctor’s assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old community college professor who will be the first black woman to fly a spacecraft. And Christopher Sembroski, a 42-year-old data engineer.
Isaacman didn’t say how much he was paying for this orbital trip, but less than $ 200 million wanted to be fundraised for St. Jude. This is a trip.
At a press conference the day before the launch, the crew expressed excitement and said they were not worried.
Arseno’s Instagram profile contained an image from the Kennedy Space Center. In one post, she posed in front of the Falcon 9 rocket with her mother, brother, and sister-in-law. Another one taken from the launch tower contained the caption “She is ready, we are ready.”
Dr. Proctor posted his portrait on a custom SpaceX spacesuit and declared it “Flight Ready!”.
On Twitter, Isaacman gave travel details to some of his followers until late at night.In response to CNBC reporter’s question about possible delays in returning to Earth due to weather and other factors, he said. They will be able to stay in space “About a week”.
Late Wednesday afternoon, a live video of an astronaut wearing a spacesuit at the SpaceX building near Ranchpad was streamed over the Internet. This is a change from the NASA Center used by NASA astronauts and reflects the shift from government-serving missions to private-sector-focused missions.
The astronaut then took a short ride to the lunch pad on a Tesla SUV about three hours before takeoff. They climbed 255 feet to the top of the launch tower via the elevator and crossed the bridge to reach the Crew Dragon Capsule. They stopped, shined with a wide smile, and gazed at the scenery. They signed the wall of the so-called “white room”, just outside the capsule door.
The engineers then sealed them on the spacecraft. Two and a half hours before the launch, everyone was detained and performed a communication system check. Then there was a long wait 35 minutes before the lift-off before the rocket was filled with propellant.
Sarah Gillis, SpaceX’s chief space operations engineer, guided the crew from mission control to orbit, hoping for good luck and God’s speed.
“It’s an absolute honor to prepare for this historic flight,” she said.
When the flight began, the video inside the capsule showed Dr. Proctor and Mr. Sembroski hitting their fists, so the crew’s enthusiasm did not succumb to the force pushing them down.
The capsule then went into orbit about 360 miles above the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. In fact, since the end of the Apollo lunar mission in the 1970s, the Inspiration 4 crew has been farther from Earth than anyone else.
The Inspiration4 crew will spend a considerable amount of time in orbit to help advance medical research into how the human body reacts to being in space.
Other activities will be more fun. For example, Dr. Proctor creates some artwork.
“I’m excited to bring paint and do some art in space, and I’m only thinking about the fluids and dynamics of watercolors,” she said on Tuesday.
Mr. Sembrosky plans to bring the ukulele and play and sing with the Crew Dragon.
“I apologize for the ears that listen enthusiastically, but I’ll give you the best shot,” he said. “And I know the sound is pretty good.”
The payload also includes items that are being auctioned for the St. Jude Children’s Research Center, which treats children for free and develops treatments for childhood cancer and other illnesses. (Mr. Arseno was a patient at the hospital as a child before returning to the hospital as an adult.)
After they get into orbit, they orbit the planet, orbit 15 times daily, and will return to Earth on Saturday, flying off the Florida coast.
Jesus Jimenez contributed to the report from New York.
SpaceX announces unparalleled astronaut crew in orbital adventure
Source link SpaceX announces unparalleled astronaut crew in orbital adventure