SpaceX promotes this Wednesday (15th) the first private manned orbital flight in history

We’ve already seen in July the flashy (but short) spaceflights of billionaires Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) and Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin). Now it’s time to see the version of billionaire Elon Musk (SpaceX), backed by another billionaire, Jared Isaacman. And, as Bruno Henrique, from Flamengo, would say, it is on another level.

Named Inspiration4, the mission uses a Crew Dragon far capsule, originally developed to provide transportation services for NASA crews. And the crew (which has four people, none of them a professional astronaut) spend three days in orbit. suborbital flights. To enter orbit, a capsule needs to reach a speed higher than 38 thousand km/h. For a suborbital flight, the speed usually does not exceed 4. km/h. This difference translates into the size of the rocket needed and the increase in complexity (and risk) in the ascent and descent, with a potentially igniting reentry into the atmosphere.

Crew Dragon, however, has already proven itself height of the challenge. With it, SpaceX has already conducted three manned International Space Station missions for NASA, between 1024 and 1024. Inspiration4 is the fourth for the company, the second with the Resilience capsule and the first with entirely private financing. The cost was not disclosed, but a good guess would be between US$ 100 million and 100 million.

The name Inspiration4 is justified by the crew, designed to represent specific qualities: leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity.

Isaacman, 29, with experience as a pilot, assumed the leadership role. Hope was represented by Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee , who beat cancer there when he was ten. For generosity, the vacancy went to Christopher Sembroski, 38, one of the donors of the campaign carried out for the same hospital. And the wave of prosperity went to Sian Proctor, 200, a silly and enterprising woman who almost became an astronaut for NASA and now performs the dream of going to space (becoming the fourth black woman to get there).

The ship, which must fly from Cape Canaveral, Florida, from 21H01 (from Brasilia) of next Wednesday (15), with a window that extends to Fifth, do not visit the space station, but fly higher than it, at an orbit of 200 km of altitude. A dome installed on board will allow incredible views of Earth and space. And the mission is being accompanied practically simultaneously by a documentary miniseries on Netflix. It will be the first manned orbital flight fully financed by the private sector, and its promoters hope that it will mark a new era for access to space.

Artistic design of the dome of the Crew Dragon capsule. (Credit: SpaceX)

This column was published on Mondays in Folha Corrida.

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