2021 is the year of space tourism: two months after the flights of billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk’s space company Space-X has now launched a flight exclusively with individuals for the first time. The boss of the company is not there, but another billionaire is: Jared Isaacman, founder and director of the listed payment service provider Shift4Payments in Pennsylvania. The 38-year-old, who can also fly traffic and military jets, took off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. With a Crew Dragon capsule, along with a medical assistant, geoscientist and aeronautical engineer, local time on Wednesday evening. “Today you really inspire the world,” Space-X control center reported. “Have a good trip!”
This time, it is not a question of living a few minutes in weightlessness at an altitude of about a hundred kilometers. The crew has now been orbiting Earth for three days at around 27,000 kilometers per hour, at an altitude of around 585 kilometers and therefore further than the International Space Station – that’s also an altitude record for Space-X. “The views are spectacular,” Isaacman said after the start. Space fans can follow the spaceship’s position live over the internet at the Space-X website.
The flight is not just for fun: the luggage weighing around 165 kilograms also includes scientific equipment for weightless experiments. The crew also wants to collect biomedical data and make it available for research purposes. This should include, for example, data on exercise and sleep, blood oxygen saturation, organs as well as cabin noise and light intensity. However, there should also be enough free time: a domed window, which is integrated into the capsule instead of a docking adapter, allows a panoramic view of land and space. “A glass dome is probably where you feel most in space,” Musk tweeted enthusiastically. After the mission, the capsule will land in the Atlantic off Florida.
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The Crew Dragon capsule was launched Wednesday evening at 8:02 p.m. local time with a Falcon-9 rocket from Space-X in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Photo: JOE SKIPPER / REUTERS)
Isaacman is also keen to raise at least $ 200 million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, with this theft, for which he also took many items with him to later sell at auction. Including the non-fungible token (NFT) – digital art with certificate of authenticity -, clocks, toys and a ukulele. In addition, an American brewery wants to produce a special beer from 30 kilos of hops that fly away with it. Isaacman himself donated $ 100 million and he chose Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old medical assistant in St. Jude, to be the first to travel – then raffled off the other two spots through a fundraiser. of funds.
Eventually, 51-year-old geoscientist and pilot Sian Proctor and 42-year-old aeronautical engineer Chris Sembroski joined the team. The four of them spent six months preparing for flight at Space-X and Cape Canaveral, including centrifuge training, zero-G flights, simulations, medical tests, and altitude training. The team spent several days at an elevation of around 3,000 meters in the Mount Rainier area near Seattle, and some climbed the summit of nearly 4,400 meters. The capsule is controlled from a control center, if necessary Isaacman and Proctor can intervene as experienced pilots. Isaacman announced the theft in February. “I’ve been a space fan since kindergarten,” the 38-year-old said.
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View in the cabin of the Crew Dragon capsule at the start of Inspiration 4.
“This flight marks the transition of human spaceflight from public to private,” space historian John Logsdon told the Washington Post. “It’s like someone is renting a self-guided yacht and navigating space with it.” How much Isaacman pays for the mission is not publicly known. With this flight, Space-X also wants to prove that an average person in good physical shape can take a flight in space without years of preparation. The American company Axiom wants to offer four private flights with Space-X to the ISS, the first being next year with a scientific mission.