Watch SpaceX's first civilian crew launch to space on Wednesday

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Business Insider 14 September, 2021 - 05:13pm 33 views

What time is spacex launch?

This crew of four is scheduled to head to space together, launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday at 8:02 p.m. Eastern time in a SpaceX rocket. They will orbit the planet for three days at an altitude higher than the International Space Station. The New York TimesSpaceX's Latest Mission Will Launch Four People Into Orbit

After just over five months of training, four regular people are set to climb aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule and blast into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Wednesday. Liftoff is scheduled for sometime after 8 p.m. ET, weather permitting.

None of these crew members are professional astronauts — they'll launch from NASA's facilities, but the agency has little to do with it otherwise. Instead, this is SpaceX's show, the company's first fully private human spaceflight. The customer — billionaire Jared Isaacman — picked the trajectory and chartered the Crew Dragon capsule directly from the rocket company. Isaacman hasn't shared how much he paid, though he did say the total came in under $200 million.

"As long as it's safe, whatever Jared would like to do, it's up to him," Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, said during a press conference announcing the mission in February.

Isaacman decided to fly for three days and get up to 355 miles above the ground — farther from Earth than any human has traveled since 2009, when astronauts last visited the Hubble Space Telescope. The spaceship will orbit Earth but won't dock to the space station.

Isaacman invited three others to join him.

Hayley Arceneaux is there to represent her employer, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is benefitting from fundraising efforts connected to the mission. Arceneaux received treatment at St. Jude's when she had bone cancer as a child. She has a rod in her leg as a result, and she'll be the first person with a prosthetic to go to space.

Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, won her role as pilot by submitting a video to a contest for a seat. Proctor was a finalist for NASA's 2009 astronaut class and has served as an analogue astronaut in simulations of long-term Mars missions on the ground.

Chris Sembroski, an engineer at Lockheed Martin, got his seat after a friend who won the raffle for it backed out, offering it to him instead. Sembroski has flown for the US Air Force and been a counselor at Space Camp.

That motley crew will spend their three days in space collecting data for scientific research, enjoying the views, and likely doing some publicity. Their mission is named Inspiration4 — partly for its designation as the first fully private amateur spaceflight, and partly as a nod to Shift4, the payment-processing company that Isaacman founded after dropping out of high school.

SpaceX flew its first astronauts for NASA last year and has since launched two other crews to the space station. The company already has a second group of private tourists lined up for next year as it leads the charge into a new era of commercial human spaceflight.

The mission's five-hour launch window opens at 8:02 p.m. ET on Wednesday, though the liftoff time is flexible.

SpaceX plans to broadcast the launch live starting at 4 p.m. ET, via the embed below.

If the mission can't launch on Wednesday, a backup window opens at 8:05 p.m. ET on Thursday.

This is nothing like the flights two other billionaires — Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — took in July. Both of those vehicles skimmed the edge of space for a few minutes before falling back down, since their rockets were too small to make the push into orbit.

When Inspiration4 lifts off, by contrast, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will push the spaceship close to orbit, then the booster will detach and fall back to Earth to fly again another day.

After that, the rocket's upper stage should give the Crew Dragon a final push before it, too, breaks away. That would leave the Crew Dragon and its passengers drifting above our planet 13 minutes after liftoff.

After that, they can strip off their spacesuits. The crew plans to eat cold pizza for dinner. 

Since Inspiration4 won't go to the space station, SpaceX replaced the port the spaceship usually uses for docking with a rounded window — a cupola. This glass dome has never flown to space. It's designed for a spaceship passenger's most memorable experience: the views.

Then, come Saturday or early Sunday, the Crew Dragon will fire its thrusters to push itself into the atmosphere. This will initiate a high-speed, fiery plummet. Tiles on the spaceship's underbelly must protect its passengers as friction superheats the air around it to a 3,500-degree-Fahrenheit plasma. Then the spaceship must deploy parachutes to drift to an ocean splashdown.

Crew Dragon has carried astronauts on this return journey twice without incident. 

SpaceX developed the spaceship for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, a competition that awarded funding to facilitate the development of commercial spacecraft. The goal was to make human spaceflight from the US possible again, since no spaceship had launched people from the US since 2011, when the Space Shuttle Program ended. SpaceX broke that dry spell when it flew its first astronauts in May 2020.

Read full article at Business Insider

SpaceX prepares for first all-civilian mission

Associated Press 15 September, 2021 - 12:41am

FIRST ALERT: SpaceX Rocket launch likely visible Wednesday evening

WMBF 14 September, 2021 - 03:51pm

According to SpaceX, the five-hour launch window is set to open on Wednesday, September 15, at 8:02 p.m. EDT for launch of the Inspiration4 mission – the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit.

The mission will be aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft and will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canveral, Florida. Three days after liftoff, Dragon and the Inspiration4 crew will return to Earth and splash down at one of several possible landing sites off the Florida coast.

SpaceX lists the crew as being commanded by Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and an accomplished pilot and adventurer. Joining him are Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® and pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur, and trained pilot.

The mission will orbit roughly 350 miles above the earth.

Previous SpaceX launches have been highly visible across the Grand Strand in the past and the upcoming launch will likely be visible as well.

The launch time at 8:02 p.m. means enough sunlight will be remaining for the exhaust trail to be brilliantly illuminated as the rocket flies well off shore, but high enough in the atmosphere for a view.

The cloud cover forecast reveals some clouds to the west of the region and well east and out to sea, but an area of generally clear skies across our area and just off shore. If this forecast holds, a great view of the liftoff is likely.

The launch will be visible for most of the area, but the best view will be for areas with a clear view to the southeast - mainly along the beaches.

Look toward the east and southeastern sky between 8:02 p.m. and 8:06 p.m. for the best viewing opportunity.

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