Inspiration 4: SpaceX launches first all-civilian crew into orbit
After three days of spinning around the Earth, the four-person crew, all of whom are Americans, will splash down off the coast of Florida.
The four astronauts on SpaceX's Inspiration 4 have successfully reached space. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying four space tourists launched the first mission to orbit the Earth with an all-civilian crew on Wednesday night from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dragon capsule split from the rocket's send stage some 12 minutes later as the crew entered orbit, while the reusable first stage returned to Earth for a vertical landing on a sea barge. The spaceship's path will take it to a height of 357 miles (575 kilometres), higher than the International Space Station (ISS).
After three days of spinning around the Earth, the four-person crew, all of whom are Americans, will splash down off the coast of Florida. The official Twitter account for SpaceX, which is providing real-time information, verified this "The astronauts had made it to space! Dragon will do two phasing fires to achieve its cruising orbit of 575 kilometres, where the crew will spend the next three days orbiting the planet."
Isaacman, a high school dropout who went on to start Shift4 Payments and is also a passionate flyer, hasn't been told how much the trip cost him. However, the cost is in the tens of millions of dollars. Isaacman's three crewmates were chosen in a competition, and a Netflix documentary chronicled their experiences.
Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old medical assistant, is a childhood cancer survivor. She'll be the first person to go into orbit with a prosthesis on a part of her femur and the youngest American to do it. Chris Sembroski, 42, is a former United States Air Force aerospace data engineer. Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old geoscientist and educator, came dangerously close to becoming a NASA astronaut in 2009. She is just the fourth black woman to visit the International Space Station.
The goal of the mission is to raise $200 million for St Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which is a prominent hospital in the state. Arceneaux was treated there as a youngster and continues to work there now. The team will bring different items with them, including a ukulele, hops for making space beer, and non-fungible tokens, which will be auctioned off to raise money for the cause.