SpaceX Inspiration4: The first all-civilian space mission
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These four astronauts are not the first batch of space tourists this year. In the past few months, the world has witnessed short suborbital flights by billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos and a few lucky people. Although these launches have similarities with Inspiration4, the differences between them are noteworthy. It is reported that this new mission emphasizes public participation, and it will also send ordinary people into orbit for three days, which will make it a milestone in space tourism.
Inspiration4 and earlier this year The biggest difference in flying is the destination.
The unfolding of Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic–and in the future–is launched in suborbital. Their aircraft can only reach the beginning of space, and then return to the ground in a few minutes. However, SpaceX’s “Falcon 9” rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are powerful enough to put the Inspiration4 manned spacecraft all the way into orbit, where they will orbit the Earth for three days.
The four-person crew is also very different from other launches. Under Issacman’s leadership, this task is characterized by a group of different people. One of the crew members, Sian Proctor, won the competition among users of Issacman’s online payment company. Another unique aspect of this mission is that one of its goals is to increase awareness and funding of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Therefore, Issacman chose Hayley Arceneaux, a doctor’s assistant at St. Jude Hospital and a child cancer survivor, to participate in the launch. The last member, Christopher Sembroski, was given this precious opportunity because his friend was selected in the charity draw for St. Judas and gave him his seat.
Since none of the four participants had received any formal astronaut training, this flight was called the first “all-civilian” space mission. Although the rocket and the crew compartment are fully automated, no one needs to control any part of the launch or landing, but the four crew members still need to be much more trained than the orbital crew. In less than six months, the crew received several hours of simulation training, learning to fly a jet plane and preparing for gravity at launch in a centrifuge.
Social development is also an important aspect of this mission. Although the space travel of Bezos and Branson has incurred criticism of the billionaire Space Playboy, Inspiration4 is already trying to make space tourism closer to people’s lives. They recently appeared on the cover of “Time” and became the subject of a documentary film currently being produced by Netflix.
It is reported that St. Jude has other fundraising activities, including a 4-mile virtual running and a planned hop auction.
Send a batch of amateur astronauts Getting into orbit is an important step in the development of space tourism. However, although this mission is more inclusive, there are still some serious obstacles to overcome before ordinary people can enter space.
First of all, the cost is still high. Although three of the four are not rich, Isaacman is a billionaire and paid approximately $200 million for the trip. The need for training to perform such tasks also means that future passengers must be able to devote a lot of time to preparation-time that many ordinary people don’t have.
Finally, space is still a dangerous place, and there will never be a way to completely eliminate the danger of sending people-whether untrained civilians or experienced professional astronauts-into space.
Despite these restrictions, orbital space tourism is coming. For SpaceX, Inspiration4 is an important proof of concept, which they hope will further prove the safety and reliability of their autonomous rocket and space capsule systems. Although SpaceX does not focus on space tourism, in fact, the company plans several travel missions in the coming months, and some will even stay at the ISS.
Although space is still out of reach for most people on Earth, Inspiration4 is an example that shows that billionaire space tycoons work hard to get more people to participate in their journeys and can Let the original xenophobic activities gain wider public appeal.