The first orbital flight solely crewed by space tourists has launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The launch took place Wednesday, September 15, 2021. There are four passengers aboard the SpaceX flight and the four will have a three day stay on the Crew Dragon capsule Inspiration4. They will orbit at a 350-mile altitude — 100 miles higher than where the International Space Station orbits. The capsule and its occupants are scheduled to return this Saturday.
The launch appeared to go well and on schedule Wednesday. The four space tourists include Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire who is reportedly financing the trip; Hayley Arceneux, 29, a physician assistant; Sian Proctor, 51, a geologist and teacher; and Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee who won an online raffle for the seat aboard the flight.
The space tourists will use NASA’s TDRS communications system to be able to speak with their families while in space. Inspiration4 crew will conduct health research to further human exploration of space, according to reports. “Once in orbit, the crew will perform carefully selected research experiments on human health and performance, which will have potential applications for human health on Earth and during future spaceflights. Additionally, SpaceX, the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine and investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine will collect environmental and biomedical data and biological samples from Inspiration4’s four crew members before, during, and after this historic spaceflight, according to a statement in late August.
“The crew of Inspiration4 is eager to use our mission to help make a better future for those who will launch in the years and decades to come,” said Jared Isaacman, commander of the Inspiration4 mission. “In all of human history, fewer than 600 humans have reached space. We are proud that our flight will help influence all those who will travel after us and look forward to seeing how this mission will help shape the beginning of a new era for space exploration.”