EDT (0002 GMT) — the start of a planned five-hour window. A four-person crew was strapped inside a Crew Dragon spacecraft which sat perched atop a slightly sooty 229-feet-tall (70 meters) Falcon 9 rocket.
“Few have come before, and many are about to follow,” Inspiration4 Cmdr. Jared Issacman said from inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft, referring to civilians in space. “The door is now open, and it’s pretty incredible.”
Safe Dragon and Excited Passenger
Isaacman, Arceneaux, Proctor and Sembroski are the fourth crew to ride in a Dragon capsule. SpaceX built the vehicle as an astronaut taxi service to ferry humans to and from the International Space Station( ISS ) and other destinations. Isaccman will serve as the mission’s commanders, with Proctor acting as his pilot, and Arceneaux and Sembroski will be mission specialists.
The Dragon used in this mission, named Resilience by the Crew-1 astronauts, will carry the Inspiration4 crew on a higher-than-normal trajectory. They will travel to an altitude of 357 miles (575 km) above the Earth, which is actually higher than both the space station and the Hubble Space Telescope. But it’s not the farthest that humans will have traveled since the Apollo moon landings — the crew of the space shuttle mission STS-82 actually flew a little higher when they went to service Hubble in 1997.
Through this travel, the crew will be treated to breathtaking views of the Earth while they orbit the planet, experiencing approximately 15 sunrises and sunsets per day.
“I’m really excited to see the Earth from space; it’s going to be so incredible,” Hayley Arceneaux said during a prelaunch news conference on Tuesday (Sept. 14).
Proctor said she plans to spend time sitting in the cupola and staring at the planet below, using her awe-inspiring views as a muse for new poetry she plans to write during the flight.
The Inspiration4 mission marks the 128th flight to date for SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, and the second to fly within a week. The booster doing all the work this time is one of SpaceX’s newest rockets, which now has three flights under its belt.
SpaceX has always said its overarching goal is to make space travel more accessible. To that end, the company has been reusing its Falcon 9 rockets, making them more reliable and less expensive than traditional expendable rockets.
To that end, the company is able to refly the same rockets many times over, as evident with the company’s launch on Monday night.
Four people returned to Earth from a three-day extraterrestrial excursion aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday evening, marking the end of the first-ever flight to Earth’s orbit flown entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts.
“Thanks so much SpaceX, it was a heck of a ride for us,” billionaire and “Inspiration4” mission commander Jared Isaacman could be heard saying over the company’s livestream.