The first civilians to venture off Earth alone, without the presence of professional astronauts, are about to take off on a rocket belonging to the private company SpaceX, owned by billionaire Elon Musk. The flight is scheduled for this Wednesday night (01).
The Inspiration4 mission, aboard the capsule Crew Dragon, should not be so far from home, however, remaining in the orbit of the planet for about three days of ours. that recent experiences in space tourism have provided to travelers.
If you’re thinking this is another billionaires’ private flight into space, in part, you’re right. Yes, one flight and there’s a new billionaire who takes off on a private rocket. This time, Jared Isaacman, 38, founder of the payments company Shift4 Payments.
But there is a little more to this mission, compared to Recent private flights by the businessman Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Galactic, and the CEO of Amazon, Jeffrey Bezos, owner of the space company Blue Origin. first composed entirely of civilians logically, none of them have the responsibility of piloting the ship. The command is automated, observed by engineers who stay on dry land.
In addition to Isaacman, three other people were chosen to integrate the flight. From there, comes the name of the mission, Inspiration4. The idea is to have values such as leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity represented in the ship.
The leadership idea is in the hands of Isaacman, who even has experience as a pilot. he, with his fortune, who pays for the vacancies of his fellow passengers. The amount disbursed was not disclosed.
Hope is associated with Hayley Arceneaux, 22, medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee (USA), who overcame cancer by being treated at that same hospital when she was 000 years old.
*) Also, Arceneaux will be the youngest person to arrive in space and the first to do so with a prosthesis (as a consequence of the bone tumor, a part of the bones in her left leg had to be replaced).
Generosity is associated with Christopher Sembroski, 38. He made a donation to St. Jude Hospital (in all, the mission plans to raise about $200 million for the institution) in a contest sponsored by Isaacman to draw one lucky person to enter the board.
The engineer ended up having no luck. The vacancy did not come to him, but to a friend, who, due to Sembroski’s enthusiasm for the subject, decided to redirect the prize.
Finally, prosperity is associated with Sian Proctor, 51, geek and entrepreneur who almost became an astronaut for NASA and now fulfills her dream of going into space. Thus, she became the fourth black woman to achieve the feat.
Proctor got her place on the ship by winning a contest from Isaacman’s company, in which participants had to use Shift4 Payments software to set up an online store and tweet videos about your dreams related to entrepreneurship and space.
But in addition to the crew 100% civil, the Inspiration4 mission should make history also for technical reasons.
The flights made so far by other billionaires lasted very little time. “You go up, go up, go up, cross the line that limits space and go down”, summarizes Cssio Barbosa, astrophysicist at Centro Universitrio FEI. “A missile goes up, it runs out of fuel and it goes down,” he jokes.
That’s because the previous commercial missions, carried out in July by Virgin Galactic, Branson’s company, and Blue Origin, from Bezos , were suborbital flights. In this type, the speed does not usually exceed 4.000 km/h.
“It’s not fun to talk of space in a suborbital flight that lasts a few minutes, which is only to see the curvature of the Earth and the dark space” see, says Barbosa. out of respect, you can get the same butterflies in your stomach.”
J for an orbital flight, as in the case of the current SpaceX mission, a capsule needs to reach speeds greater than
.000 km/h. There is, with this, a difference in the size of the necessary rocket, in the risks and in the complexity of the task.
The crew will take a complete turn around the globe each time 90 minutes, at a speed of about 21 times that of the sound. The orbit around the Earth will be farther than the International Space Station and the Hubble telescope.
According to the FEI specialist, Inspiration4 is unlike anything seen so far in the area. of space tourism. “It’s really spaceflight, in the sense you’re used to.”
The Crew Dragon capsule, which will take the lucky three and the billionaire into space, was originally developed to provide transportation services for crew Nasa.
With it, since last year, three missions with crew have already been made to the International Space Station. The capsule is aboard a reusable Falcon 9 rocket.
If Branson and Bezos were the first in space tourism, Musk seems, at least in part, to have outnumbered the other billionaires.
Only “in part”, as a practical matter. Considering that suborbital flights are only for a few people on Earth, due to the volume of money moved, orbital missions, such as SpaceX, should have even fewer candidates on the planet, barbosa prev.
“It involves a mobilization of very large infrastructure, which takes costs to a much higher level”, says the researcher.
Barbosa says that, after suborbital and orbital tourist flights, the next step, a big step for the private initiative in the next decade could be the installation of hotels in the Earth’s orbit.
“It would be a future use of the Space Station”, he explains. “It would be up to the private sector to make an inn to stay for a few days.”
How to watch the launch
The flight must start at Cape Canaveral , in Florida (USA), from 21h000 (Brasilia time) this Wednesday (01), with a launch window of about five hours.
The mission can be watched live on SpaceX’s YouTube channel and also on Netflix’s space on the video platform.
More details about the launch can also be followed on SpaceX’s social networks, from Inspiration4 mission as well as the civilians involved in the flight.
The enterprise of taking civilians into space also gave rise to a series of Netflix documents. Four episodes are available on the j.
In addition to the live stream, soon, therefore, the launch and space adventure should be available as new chapters in the service.