SpaceX, the American aerospace company of Elon Musk, launched the Inspiration4 mission on 15 September 2021. The mission was first announced on 1 February 2021. It has the first all civilian space crew globally and has orbited around Earth for three days. The flight safely splashed on Florida on 18 September 2021 after completing their first multi-day low Earth orbit mission. The four amateur astronauts traveled at an altitude of 357 miles (575 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth and went deeper than the International Space Station (ISS). The SpaceX flight was powered by Falcon 9 rocket, and the Dragon capsule carried the civilians to space. The launch occurred from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
SpaceX is an aerospace company that is involved in space transportation services and manufacturing founded by Elon Musk in 2002. It is located in California. The goal of SpaceX is to reduce the costs of space transportation and travel. SpaceX has set many records in the aerospace sector. It is the first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft with Dragon in 2010 and send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Dragon in 2012). The other achievements of SpaceX include the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 in 2008), the first vertical take-off and vertical propulsive landing for an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2015), and the first reuse of an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2017). They are also the first private company to send astronauts to orbit and the International Space Station using SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 in 2020.
Falcon9 is the first orbit class rocket capable of re-flight. It is a reusable two-stage for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth orbit and beyond. Reusability allows SpaceX to refly the most expensive parts of the rocket, which in turn reduces the cost of space access. Falcon9 had a total of 125 launches, 85 total landings, and 67 reflown rockets until September 2021.
The Dragon spacecraft is eight meters high and four meters wide. It is modified for this specific flight to install a huge glass dome for a 360-degree view of space. It can carry up to 7 astronauts beyond the orbit of the Earth. It is the only spacecraft that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth. It is also the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station. It is also equipped with two drogue parachutes to stabilize the spacecraft following reentry and four main parachutes to decelerate the spacecraft before landing further. It has a total of 30 launches, 27 visits to ISS, and 12 reflown missions until October 2021.
Inspiration4, the world’s first all civilian mission to orbit, will be commanded by Jared Isaacman. The four crew members represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity. Unlike professional astronauts who undertakes years of preparation, the Inspiration4 crew trained for just under six months. Even though the flight is fully automated, SpaceX has trained the crew to take control of the spacecraft in case of emergencies.
Jared Issacman, who represents leadership, is the commander and sponsor of the mission.
He is the CEO of Shift4 Payments (NYSE: FOUR), the leader in integrated payment processing solutions. He is also a jet pilot and is rated to fly both commercial and military aircraft. He also holds several world records, including two Speed-Around-The-World flights in 2008 and 2009, raising money and awareness for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Hayley Arceneaux, who represents hope, is a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a pediatric cancer survivor. Chris Sembroski, who represents generosity, is an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer. He is also the mission specialist of Inspration4. Dr. Sian Proctor, who represents prosperity, is a geoscientist, explorer, science communication specialist, and a trained pilot with a lifelong passion for space exploration. She is the mission pilot of Inspiration4.
Objectives of the Mission
- Raise $200 million for St Jude: The mission has surpassed the fundraising goal and raised more than 210 million dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to give hope to all kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
- Study of the human body in space: The Inspiration4 crew conducted scientific research designed to advance human health on Earth and during future long-duration space flights during their time in space.