On September 15, SpaceX successfully launched the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Inspiration4 mission using a Falcon 9 rocket.
The goal of the mission is to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Shift4 Payments founder and CEO, Jared Isaacman is in command, and the crew includes geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor, physician assistant (chief medical officer) Hayley Arceneaux, and mission specialist Chris Sembroski.
At 8:02 p.m. EDT, Inspiration4 successfully launched
The Inspiration4 mission is a watershed moment in human spaceflight because it was the first to send only civilians into space.
At 8:02 p.m. EDT (5:32 a.m. IST Thursday), SpaceX’s Sarah Gillis gave the crew a final sign-off before launch, saying: “It has been a true honour to assist you in preparing for this historic flight. Today, you truly inspire the entire world. We wish you a successful mission.”
After a few minutes, the first stage separation is successful, and the descent begins
The rocket successfully launched on time, and just a few minutes later, the first booster stage of the Falcon 9 rocket separated and began preparing to return to Earth.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage completed its entry burn six minutes after separation, landing on the drone ship dubbed “Just Read The Instructions.”
‘Few have gone before, and many more are on their way’
The Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience, separated from the Falcon 9 upper stage, launching the spacecraft into orbit.
Surprisingly, the crew’s zero-g indicator is a stuffed golden retriever toy
Approximately 10 minutes into the flight, Isaacman could be heard saying on SpaceX’s live stream, “Few have gone before, and many more are on their way. The door’s open now and it’s pretty incredible.”
Stuffed toy zero-g indicator represents St. Jude’s retrievers
SpaceX concluded the live stream after the Inspiration4 crew was injected into orbit. Before closing, SpaceX officials said that the all-civilian crew will soon get to peer through the new cupola window on the Crew Dragon. The glass dome is the single largest spacecraft window to ever fly to space.
The aforementioned stuffed toy also represents retrievers, Puggle and Huckleberry, at St. Jude Hospital.
Crew will witness 15 sunrises and sunsets every day
Now, the Crew Dragon is orbiting Earth at an altitude of 585 kilometers, about 9.6 kilometers higher than originally planned. The spacecraft attained this altitude after several phasing burns (firing thrusters) (firing thrusters).
This is an altitude record for the spacecraft. It will complete one orbit around Earth every 90 minutes, thus witnessing 15 sunrises and sunsets every day.