A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A at 8:03 p.m. (20:03) Eastern Time. The rocket carried four space tourists to low Earth orbit on a mission scheduled to circle the planet for three days. It is the first space mission crewed entirely by tourists!
Billionaire, Jared Isaacman, leads the historic mission. Isaacman, the 38-year-old founder and CEO of payment processing company Shift4 Payments paid an unspecified amount for the three-day joy ride in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. SpaceX launches are said to cost $55 – $62 million.
The other crew members are Hayley Arceneux, 29, a childhood cancer survivor and current St. Jude physician assistant; Sian Proctor, 51, a geologist and community college teacher with a PhD; and Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee and lifelong space fan who claimed his seat through an online raffle.
These are the specifications for the Crew Dragon capsule curtesy of Wikipedia (citations omitted).
|Payload capacity||6,000 kg (13,000 lb) to orbit]3,000 kg (6,600 lb) return cargo 800 kg (1,800 lb) disposed cargo]|
|Dimensions||Diameter: 4 m (13 ft) Height: 8.1 m (27 ft) (with trunk) Sidewall angle: 15°|
|Volume||9.3 m3 (330 cu ft) pressurized12.1 m3 (430 cu ft) unpressurized 37 m3 (1,300 cu ft) unpressurized with extended trunk|
|Design life||10 days (free flight) 210 days (docked to ISS)|
Yes. There is a toilet, too.
I watched the liftoff and flight to Earth orbit. For me, there wasn’t much excitement. It was more exciting than watching people hop on a scary rollercoaster ride, but not that much. I’m glad everything has gone well. Because there is so much knowledge to be gained from travel outside of the protection of our atmosphere, it seems like spaceflight should be reserved for serious business, not joy rides for billionaires and their guests.
On the other hand, if someone offered me a ride, I’d take them up on it in an instant, subject to a little due diligence. I’m still waiting on a call from Yusaku Maezawa for a ride on the dearMoon project. He still hasn’t selected the crew for his flight to the Moon.
What are your thoughts on space tourism?
All photos are by SpaceX from this evening’s flight.