Inspiration4, SpaceX’s all-civilian mission into orbit was launched into space at 1am BST this Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. As part of the mission, the crew will spend three days in space conducting experiments (even though none of them is a professional astronaut) and experiencing Earth at a distance like tourists.
In fact, they should orbit around the blue planet a total of 45 times which means they will witness the Earth in its entirety.
A domed window offers the crew an unrivalled view of Earth and space.
Each member will be able to easily float to the window since they won’t feel gravity for the duration of their stay.
For all three days in space, the passengers will all have to share a special zero-gravity-friendly toilet located near the top of the capsule.
No showering will be available, and crew will all have to sleep in the same reclining seats they will ride in during launch.
They will then fall back down to Earth, landing in the ocean for a splashdown.
Passengers include a 38-year-old billionaire who is personally financing the entire mission (Jared Isaacman), a cancer survivor who is the first person with a prosthetic body part to go to space, a geologist and, surprisingly, a raffle winner who inherited the ticket from a friend who decided not to go.
Mr Isaacman is using this space trip as the centrepiece for a $200 million fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, $100 million of which he donated personally and the rest he is hoping to raise through online donations and an upcoming auction.
NASA estimates Crew Dragon has a 1 in 270 chance of catastrophic failure, based on one metric the space agency uses.
For comparison, NASA’s Space Shuttle missions in the 1980s to early 2000s ultimately logged a failure rate of about 1 in every 68 missions.
Crew Dragon’s missions in the near future also include a mix of NASA-commissioned flights to the ISS and space tourism missions.