SpaceX Launches 4 Amateurs on Private Space Flight; Elon Musk's Company Joins Commercial Space Tourism
The first entry of SpaceX founder Elon Musk in the competition for space tourism blasted off Wednesday night from NASA's Kennedy Space Center pad in Florida.
SpaceX's first private flight was joined by two contest winners, a health care worker, and their wealthy sponsor.
SpaceX was considered the most ambitious leap yet in space tourism because it was the first time that a rocket streaked toward orbit with an all-amateur crew, which means there were no professional astronauts among them.
SpaceX Joins Commercial Space Tourism
According to Associated Press, the four individuals inside the dragon capsule, composed of two men and two women, would be circling the Earth at an orbit higher than the International Space Station before they were expected to splash down off the Florida coast this weekend.
The all-amateur crew would be spending three days circling the Earth from a high orbit of 100 miles or 160 kilometers.
The flight leader of the all-amateur crew is 38-year-old Jared Isaacman. The billionaire made his fortune after he established a payment processing company. Isaacman started venturing into this business in his teens, The Guardian reported.
So far, Isaacman is the third billionaire to launch this season, next to Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin.
Isaacman, who is an accomplished pilot, persuaded SpaceX to push its limits. The company of Elon Musk was reluctant at first because of the increased radiation exposure and other risks that they have projected. However, after a safety review, SpaceX agreed on the space flight.
All-Amateur Space Flight for SpaceX
The space trip, also known as the "Inspiration4," was joined by 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, a childhood bone cancer survivor.
Arceneaux is currently working as a physician assistant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was initially treated.
The mission's central goal is to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude. Isaacman has pledged $100 million out of his own pocket to the medical facility, and they are seeking another $100 million in donations.
Aside from the record of being the youngest American in space, Arceneaux is set to become the first individual with a prosthesis in space, as she wears a titanium rod in her left leg. Arceneaux considers the space flight as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, The USA Today reported.
Also along for the ride were sweepstakes winners, 42-year-old Chris Sembroski, a data engineer in Everett, Washington, and 51-year-old community college educator in Tempe, Arizona, Sian Proctor.
Even though the capsule is automated, the four individuals spent at least six months of training before the space flight. They trained for months to cope with any emergency during the space flight since they were all amateurs.
The Dragon capsule aimed for an altitude of 357 miles or 575 kilometers, a distance beyond the Hubble Space Telescope. The fully automated capsule has already been to orbit. Before the latest trip to space, it was used for SpaceX's second astronaut flight for NASA to the space station.
SpaceX's next private trip will see a retired NASA astronaut escorting three wealthy businessmen to the space station for a weeklong visit early next year. Once opposed to space tourism, NASA is now a supporter of private space flight.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, a congressman who hitched a ride on a space shuttle decades ago, earlier tweeted that "low-Earth orbit is now more accessible for more people to experience the wonders of space."
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by: Jess Smith
WATCH: SpaceX Launches 4 Amateurs Into Earth Orbit - From Associated Press
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