SpaceX plans to launch the first civilian crew later this year. The historic Inspiration4 mission will launch Shift4Payments founder Jared Isaacman, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Oncology Physician Assistant Hayley Arceneaux, Geoscience Professor Dr. Sian Proctor, and U.S Air Force veteran/data engineer Christopher Sembroski. They will liftoff from Launch Pad-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket aboard a previously-flown Crew Dragon. Learn about the Inspiration4 mission in the article linked below.
Inspiration4 Announces Winners That Will Launch Aboard SpaceX’s First All-Civilian Crewhttps://t.co/QFnubeoCpv— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) March 30, 2021
The spacecraft they will ride is Crew Dragon Resilience, which is currently docked to the International Space Station as part of SpaceX’s first operational mission (Crew-1) under NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The spacecraft has been docked to the Space Station’s Harmony module for nearly six months, it arrived on November 16 carrying Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Resilience is scheduled to return with Crew-1 astronauts by April 28.
Last year, NASA granted SpaceX permission to reuse spacecraft and rocket boosters to reduce the cost of spaceflight. The company says they plan to reuse Crew Dragon vehicles at least five times. When Resilience returns from space later this month, it will cross Earth’s rough atmosphere to perform a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. Crew Dragon Resilience will be recovered and refurbished to prepare it for the Inspiration4 mission that is scheduled to liftoff no earlier than September 15. Read more: NASA Astronauts At The Space Station Will Undock & Relocate SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience.
We know it will be Resilience— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) March 14, 2021
Resilience will be specially upgraded for the Inspiration4 crew. Engineers plan to install a new dome window for the civilian crew to enjoy beautiful views while orbiting Earth. The crew will not visit the Space Station, they will remain in orbit for around three days. SpaceX will add a large glass dome at the top of the capsule where the station docking port is located. The dome window will provide the civilian crew with 360-degree-views of space while they cruise at a 540-kilometer altitude above our planet. SpaceX shared a render of Crew Dragon featuring the glass dome, pictured above. SpaceX's Director of Crew Mission Management Benji Reed shared this week engineers will analyze whether the window addition would inhibit future reuse of the Resilience capsule –“We will continue to go through all the analysis and testing and qualification to ensure everything is safe, and that it doesn't preclude any use of this spacecraft for other missions,” he said.
All Images Source: SpaceX/NASA
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.