SpaceX launches first all-civilian crew mission into orbit

SpaceX rocket soared into orbit with four civilian crew members on September 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission kicked off to Earth’s orbit crewed entirely by tourists, no professional astronauts accompanied the team. This is actually the only third crewed mission launch from the US land for the past decade.

When the SpaceX rocket’s nine engines fired up, the launchpad dramatically illuminated with spotlights against the night sky. It was reported by CNN that the capsule, after reaching above 17,000 miles per hour, detached from the rocket and began to move skillfully toward its intended orbit.

The team of tourists includes 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman who self-funded the mission, a childhood cancer survivor- Hayley Arceneux, a geologist and community college teacher with a Ph.D.-Sian Proctor, and a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee and lifelong space fan-Chris Sembroski. It is expected to be of three days that they will stay on board. The capsule will be back on September 18 where a splashdown landing off the coast of Florida is planned.

The capsule circles around the planet once every 90 minutes. Passengers will float on the capsule for the next three days. During these days the passengers will take shots of different views of the earth while they are floating inside it. To conclude the journey, their spacecraft will dive back into the atmosphere for a fiery re-entry and splashdown off the coast of Florida. The capsule contains enough food and supplies for about a week.

All four passengers will spend the entire mission aboard the SpaceX capsule, a 13-foot-wide, gumdrop-shaped spacecraft that detaches from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket after reaching orbital speeds and was originally built to carry NASA astronauts.

This mission has been billed as the beginning of a new era of space travel. In the new era, average people, rather than government-selected astronauts and the occasional deep-pocketed adventurer, carry the mantle of space exploration. Though the pricing details have not been made public, it likely cost upward of $200 million. According to one government report, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule costs roughly $55 million per seat.