SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew has successfully completed the first all-civilian orbital space mission.
The three-day trip ended with a splashdown off the coast of Florida on Saturday, September 18.
The feat earns the crew a place in the history books and gives them a story to dine out on for the rest of their lives. It also clears the way for regular orbital missions using crews made up entirely of so-called “amateur astronauts.”
To mark the historic flight, we’ve pulled together videos and photos showing some of the best moments, including the launch, the stunning Earth views, and an impromptu ukulele performance by one of the crew. From left to right: Jared Isaacman, the Shift4 Payments founder who made the mission happen via a private deal with SpaceX; Hayley Arceneaux, who became the first bone cancer survivor to travel to space; Chris Sembroski, a data engineer and U.S. Air Force veteran; and geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor became the first Black female Mission Pilot on a space mission and the fourth Black female to travel to space. SpaceX The highly anticipated mission got underway on Wednesday, September 15, when the Inspiration4 crew launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Here we see the four Americans heading to the launchpad just a few hours before lift-off …
Once suited and booted, the crewmates settled into their seats inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft in preparation for launch …
Shortly after 8 p.m. ET, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off the launchpad, minutes later becoming the first orbital mission with a crew consisting entirely of private citizens rather than trained astronauts. Liftoff of @Inspiration4X ! Go Falcon 9! Go Dragon! pic.twitter.com/NhRXkD4IWg — SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021 This beautiful long-exposure image shows the flight path of the Falcon 9 rocket as it carried the crew to space. Inspiration4/John Kraus A short while after launch, the first stage of the rocket separated and returned to Earth, landing upright on a droneship waiting just off the Florida coast. Main engine cutoff and stage separation confirmed. Second stage engine burn underway pic.twitter.com/ihYA8ELUVA — SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021 Twelve minutes after leaving Cape Canaveral, the Crew Dragon separated from the second stage, and a couple of burns later the spacecraft reached its orbit 357 miles (575 kilometers) above Earth — about 100 miles higher than the International Space Station. Dragon has separated from Falcon 9’s second stage pic.twitter.com/pOfgJ9LsvE — SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021 A few hours after reaching orbit, at the end of a busy day, the crewmates took their first sleep in space. SpaceX tweeted : “The Inspiration4 crew is healthy, happy, and resting comfortably. Before the crew went to bed, they traveled 5.5 times around Earth, completed their first round of scientific research, and enjoyed a couple of meals.”
Speaking of meals, this was the kind of fare available to the Inspiration4 crew during the three-day mission. Pretty regular stuff, though we’re wondering how easy it was to eat bolognese in microgravity conditions … SpaceX […]