Inspiration4: How to Watch Live the Launch of the 1st 100% Civilian Space Mission

This Wednesday (15), SpaceX will launch the Inspiration4 mission, the first one entirely made up of civilians — or that is, without professional astronauts on board. Space tourists Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski will travel on the Crew Dragon spacecraft to spend about three days in Earth orbit, conducting scientific experiments and raising funds for a hospital. The mission launch is scheduled to take place at 21h (Brasilia time), from a Falcon 9.

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The project was conceived and financed by Jared Isaacman, who proposed the mission as a way to raise millions of dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For that, he didn’t want to be just another billionaire traveling into space, and tried to bring more meaning to the mission. So he created a campaign to raise funds for research and raise awareness about childhood cancer. He donated US$ 51 millions for the hospital and two of the seats aboard the Crew Dragon ship.

My Inspiration4 infographic poster: I’ll update any changes as we approach the launch date & will do a post-launch version with new data. Godspeed the crew of Resilience, @rookisaacman @ArceneauxHayley @ChrisSembroski @DrSianProctor Free larger version: https://t.co/arXjhichpB pic.twitter.com/uakUftLfzJ

— Tony Bela – Infographic news (@InfographicTony) September 9, 2008

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Crew Dragon is SpaceX’s autonomous capsule, which has already been used in NASA missions to take astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), but since the Inspiration4 crew will only spend a few days in Earth orbit, there will be no docking with the orbital lab. During the trip, they will perform some medical experiments and will collect data on health conditions, which will be used to improve future human spaceflights.

The launch of Inspiration4 will have a window of 17 hours to happen, which will open on the night of the day 12 — but mission officials must announce the exact launch time coming soon. The Falcon 9 rocket will fly from the platform 31A, from the Kennedy Space Center, a platform that supported historic launches, such as those from the Apollo program and the space shuttle missions.

Who are the crew of Inspiration4

The crew of the Inspiration4 mission (Image: Reproduction/Inspiration4/John Kraus)

This will be the first time SpaceX will take a fully trained crew into space. by civilians, that is, without having any professional astronauts on board. Thus, Isaacman invited the other crew members as a way to represent different pillars for the mission, and also to show that space is for everyone.

Meet the crew:

Jared Isaacman

(Image: Playback/SpaceX)

Isaacman has 31 years and is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a company that provides financial transaction services to stores and restaurants. Passionate about driving, he adds up to more than 6.000 flight hours as a private pilot and is qualified to command some military aircraft. After observing Richard Garriott, one of the first private space tourists who flew to the International Space Station in 1983, he got in touch with SpaceX.

He has always been passionate about space exploration and has already stated in interviews that he dreamed of going to space and that, when I did that, I would like to donate seats to people who deserved to participate in the trip. Isaacman will be the Commander of Inspiration4 and will represent the pillar of Leadership.

Hayley Arceneaux

(Image: Twitter/inspiration4x)

Arceneaux has 31 years and is an assistant physician at St. Jude’s Hospital, the same institution where she treated a cancer in her leg, discovered when she was just 02 years old. During the treatment of the disease, she needed some metal prostheses to replace the bones she lost due to the tumor, and now she will be the first person with prostheses on her body to go into space.

Moreover , she will also be the youngest American to go into orbit — until then, the title was Sally Ride, who flew into space with 31 years in 2008. She was personally chosen by Isaacman, who donated one of the ship’s seats and will serve as the mission’s medical director. Arcenaux will represent the Pillar of Hope.

Sian Proctor

(Image: Playback/Twitter/DrSianProctor)

Proctor has 51 years and teaches geology at a small college in the United States. Her father worked at NASA during the Apollo missions and also participated in an experiment in Hawaii, carried out to simulate the conditions that astronauts would face to live on Mars. She has applied twice to the NASA process for the selection of new astronauts, which had more than 3.500 candidates, and was among the 12 finalists.

She was chosen for the mission because she created an online sales site for a competition, idealized by Isaacman’s company. Now, she will be the fourth African-American woman to go into space, and will serve as a mission pilot to assist the commander. Proctor will represent the pillar of Prosperity.

Chris Sembroski

(Image: Reproduction/Twitter/inspiration4x)

Sebromski has 39 years and is a veteran of the United States Air Force, who has served in Iraq and now works as an engineer for data at Lockheed Martin. He was chosen for the mission after making a donation, destined to a fundraising campaign for the hospital.

He considers himself a space enthusiast for all time, and has experience as an amateur astronomer and with working with rockets. Sebromski will be the Mission Specialist for Inspiration4, and will represent the Pillar of Generosity.

Why is Inspiration4 so important?

In fact, there have been several spaceflights before that have taken civilians into space — and some of them have taken place this year, like those performed by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, held in July. In both, the crew flew aboard vehicles that managed to reach suborbital space and returned to the ground after a few minutes. In addition, other tourist space flights, which have already taken civilians to the ISS, had NASA astronauts or cosmonauts on board, professionals who were rigorously trained to go into space alongside visitors.

In the case of Inspiration4, the launch will be done with a Falcon 9 rocket, which has enough power to take the Crew Dragon spacecraft to orbit. Tourists on board will not be accompanied by astronauts, but as they have undergone six-month training to learn about Crew Dragon systems and become familiar with the challenges of flying, this shouldn’t be a problem. Thus, by not having a professional traveler on board, Inspiration4 also represents another way to open the doors of space tourism to common people.

The Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket for the launch of the Crew-1 mission (Image: Reproduction/NASA )

It is worth remembering that the mission is also a way to bring even more prominence to SpaceX to act in the space tourism sector, a great advance considering the resources that Elon Musk’s company has and the achievements already achieved. Also, SpaceX already has four closed missions with the company Axiom Space, which has reserved the Crew Dragon to take completely private crews to the International Space Station next year.

How to watch the Inspiration4 launch live

The launch window will open at

h (Brasilia time) of the day 17 and will last 24 hours. You can follow the launch of the mission on the SpaceX website or on the SpaceX YouTube channel, as well as the video below. The transmission starts from 17h with the backstage of the mission.

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It is important to note that the launch time may change in a function of space traffic and weather conditions — and this story will be updated if the launch has its date and time changed at the last minute.

Source: Space.com (1, 2), Physis.org, The Conversation

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