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Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:49 PM

Shift4 Payments : SpaceX to raise bar for space tourism with Inspiration4 launch

SpaceX plans to reach new heights, literally, for space tourism Wednesday by launching the Inspiration4 mission from Florida -- the first all-private spaceflight to orbit the Earth. Two men and two women are scheduled to lift off in a Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center no earlier than 8 p.m. EDT.

The mission is the brainchild of American businessman Jared Isaacman, founder of Pennsylvania-based payments processing company Shift4 Payments. Isaccman, who Forbes says is worth $2.4 billion, paid SpaceX an undisclosed sum for the flight. He also pledged a $100 million donation to Memphis-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, while mounting a fundraising effort to raise an additional $100 million.


Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin took two private individuals into space in July, but that was a suborbital flight for about 10 minutes that rose 62 miles. Inspiration4 is to spend several days in space, although the exact duration hasn't been announced and may depend on how the flight unfolds. The capsule will orbit higher than the International Space Station at about 265 miles, according to the mission profile.


While the Dragon capsule is SpaceX's workhorse spacecraft, it will be used in a completely new fashion for Inspiration4. Designed to carry astronauts and cargo to the space station, Dragon will be modified for Inspiration4 to include a glass dome where the docking hatch normally would be. That will allow the crew broad views of the Earth and space that otherwise would be limited to smaller windows, according to SpaceX.


The Dragon spacecraft was designed to be fully automated, making an all-private mission more accessible. But Isaacman and the crew have trained for manual control in an emergency. All rocket missions are subject to weather at the launch site, but crewed missions also require launchers like SpaceX to monitor weather along the planned trip to orbit. That's because a Dragon capsule is capable of aborting the flight plan at any point along a 1,000-mile route. It is designed to land under parachutes in the ocean; for the Inspiration4 mission, that would be the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida and into the ocean's far northern regions. The forecast for Wednesday cites a 50% chance of thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service. That could cause a delay.



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Reply Shift4 Payments : SpaceX to raise bar for space tourism with Inspiration4 launch (Original post)
question everything Sep 13 OP
question everything Sep 13 #1

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Mon Sep 13, 2021, 10:48 PM

1. self kick. First I've heard of it from an earlier issue of TIME

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