The democratization of space kicks off in earnest Wednesday night.
SpaceX will launch its latest Falcon 9 rocket into space, but for the first time, none of the crew will work for NASA or any other space agency. They’re all civilians. And until a few months ago, they were strangers.
This SpaceX flight won’t stop at the International Space Station. Instead, it will zip around the Earth about 360 miles above the ground for three days, then splash down off the Florida coast.
It’s an unusual flight with an unusual crew—and it’s expected to garner an unusual amount of attention. Here’s what you need to know as Inspiration4 prepares to take off.
When is the Inspiration4 scheduled to take off?
The launch window for this SpaceX flight opens at 8:02 p.m. ET, which is when the crew hopes the Falcon 9 will lift off. If there are weather delays, it has five hours before that window closes.
Should Wednesday’s flight be delayed beyond the window, they’ll try again Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET.
Preparation will start long before that window opens, though. The crew will board the spacecraft at around 5:30 p.m. ET. And 45 minutes before the scheduled launch, SpaceX will begin making final checks and loading propellant into the rocket.
Can I watch the Inspiration4 launch on TV?
It’s going to be hit or miss. News channels, such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, could carry live footage of the launch, but none have announced definitive plans to do so. The NASA channel does not plan to air the launch, since it’s not affiliated with the mission.
How can I stream the Inspiration4 launch online if I don’t have a cable subscription?
There are several online options for you to watch the Inspiration4 take off.
SpaceX’s YouTube channel will carry it live.
Netflix’s YouTube channel will also air the launch.
And you can catch it on Space.com as well.
Who’s the mission commander on Inspiration4?
Jared Isaacman, the billionaire founder of Shift4Payments, booked the flight and paid for all the seats. He’ll also be the mission commander. He picked up piloting as a hobby, eventually learning to control aircraft up to and including military planes.
An avid space enthusiast, he began speaking with SpaceX last year, which led to Wednesday’s flight.
Who are the rest of the crew for Inspiration4?
Health officer Hayley Arceneaux, 29, is a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. She will become the youngest American ever to travel in space—and the first to do so with a prosthetic body part.
Pilot Sian Proctor, 51, is a community college professor from Tempe, Ariz. A one-time NASA astronaut finalist, she will be the first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft.
Mission specialist Christopher Sembroski, 42, is a data engineer for Lockheed Martin in Everett, Wash. A friend of his actually won a spot on the flight but was unable to go and suggested that Sembroski travel instead.
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