SpaceX Inspiration4 Crew Completes A Full Rehearsal Of Launch Day Operations

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo September 13, 2021

SpaceX Inspiration4 Crew Completes A Full Rehearsal Of Launch Day Operations

SpaceX's Inspiration4 crew completed a full rehearsal of launch day operations ahead of launching to space aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft. Liftoff is currently scheduled for Wednesday, September 15, during a 5-hour launch window that begins at 8:02 p.m. Eastern Time. A previously-flown Falcon 9 booster will launch Crew Dragon to orbit from Launch Complex-39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The all-civilian crewmembers - Shift4Payments founder Jared Isaacman, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Physician Assistant Hayley Arceneaux, Geoscience Professor Dr. Sian Proctor, and Data Scientist Chris Sembroski, will orbit Earth for three days at an altitude of around 575-kilometers. Then they will reenter Earth’s atmosphere to splashdown down in the ocean. This weekend they reviewed some of the training they underwent for a final time. “SpaceX completed a full rehearsal of launch day activities with the Inspiration4x crew,” the company shared on Monday morning.

During the full rehearsal SpaceX and the crew replicated all things they will do before liftoff. The crew put on their stylish SpaceX spacesuits to practice. The one-piece, form-fitting suits are designed to provide astronauts with a pressurized environment. Each SpaceX suit is tailored and customized for each individual wearing it. The spacesuit features a communications system to communicate with each other, mission control, and the craft, also hearing protection which will protect the crew’s ears during the rocket launch ascent and spacecraft reentry. It also has two internal layers, a flame-resistant outer layer and an inner cooling system. The space helmet is 3D printed with solar radiation protection. The suit's gloves are flexible and specifically designed to be compatible with touchscreen devices. Crew Dragon's control and pilot system consists of a trio of touchscreen displays.

After suiting-up, the Inspiration4 crew drove to Launch Pad-39A aboard Tesla Model X electric vehicles. When they arrived, they rode up the 265-foot-high launch tower’s elevator to the Crew Access Arm, which leads to the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft’s hatch. Once inside the capsule, it is likely the crew checked their communications systems and checked their spacesuits pressure before the hatch was closed. All operations leading to launch are performed alongside SpaceX teams. This is the final time the crew reviewed all they will do to prepare for liftoff.

The crew then left the launch tower and SpaceX conducted a ‘wet dress rehearsal’ of the twice-flown Falcon 9 rocket. During this rehearsal, they simulated the exact countdown they will conduct to launch the Inspiration4 crew. Engineers fueled the booster with rocket-grade kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants and test-fired Falcon 9’s Merlin engines. They did the countdown while the rocket remained grounded to the launch pad with hold-down clamps as SpaceX engineers assess all data.

Netflix released the fourth and fifth episode of the Inspiration4 documentary on Monday. You can follow the all-civilian crew journey as it unfolds through the series – Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space. SpaceX & Netflix will broadcast the mission Live on Wednesday night. 

All Images Source: Inspiration4 & SpaceX

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