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ICT Spring - 2022

SpaceX launches all-civilian crew into three-day Earth orbit

Image: John Kraus/Courtesy of Netflix

Edinburgh, 14 September 2021. – SpaceX is launching four civilians into space on Wednesday, 8:00 pm ET from launch pad 39A, at NASA’s Kennedy Center.

The three-day mission marks the first time to enter Earth orbit with exclusively private citizens. The billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos both conducted few-minute private space flights during the summer.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will be flying past the orbit of the ISS. The crew’s five-month training included experiencing high G force, weightlessness, high altitude fitness, simulator training and emergency drills. The flight itself will be fully autonomous.

The trip has been chartered by Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payment, who is also a pilot and will act as mission commander. Mission “Inspiration4” will see three more non-public figures on board each of whom are representing a pillar of the mission. Hayley Arceneaux will be the first person with a prosthetic to go to space. She got the title of chief medical officer for the flight. Sian Proctor, an earth science professor and licensed pilot, will be the mission pilot and the fourth African American woman to go to space. The fourth person, Chris Sembroski, a U.S. Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer, will act as mission specialist.

The crew’s sleep, heart rate, blood and cognitive abilities will be analysed during the three-day mission. They will also carry out tests before and after the flight to see the effect of it on their body. The data gathered will help future missions with private passengers.

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