In a milestone event in the world of space and science, four ‘amateur astronauts’ have been put into orbit aboard a Dragon Vehicle atop a Falcon-9 rocket. Manufactured by SpaceX, the giant organization founded and directed by Elon Musk, it seeks to revolutionize space tourism.
The mission has been called ‘Inspiration4’ – with its aim being to raise money for cancer medicine for kids, and to inspire others to take many such monumental steps. This is the latest flight opening up space for willing to pay customers. The four people aboard this mission include a healthcare worker, a data analyst, a science educator and billionaire businessman Jared Isaacman. These people will circle the Earth for a total of three days, an achievement that seemed impossible up until recently.
Space tourism saw a hiatus of a long decade and has recently started to re-emerge and attract attention. Following this exceptional mission, two more are lined up in the coming months. One would be a visit to the International Space Station (ISS) in October which would have two participants – a Russian movie director and an actress. The second mission is expected to launch in the early part of the new year.
Aboard the craft, onboard computer systems will be in control of its mechanism and capsule which will be monitored by the SpaceX team on Earth. The Dragon is on a ‘free flight’ without any specific destination in mind and is expected to reach a target altitude of approximately 575km. This can roughly be estimated to be at the same height as where the Hubble Space Telescope is located viewing the cosmos.
Although there is no specific destination to the mission, the foursome will have plenty in the span of these three days. They have been entrusted with scientific experiments to be conducted in the capsule. Alongside this, a large window has been built in the craft, that will give the quartet a stellar view of Earth down below during their journey.
SpaceX and Inspiration4, as the mission has been aptly called, described this launch as the first ‘all-civilian mission to orbit’.
The whole idea surrounding the concern of space activity and tourism is becoming highly commercialized as it is taking centre stage in the space technology world. Musk has made his intentions to see humanity rise to ‘a multi-planetary species’ clear. This is certainly not without its opposition.
Some commentators are of the belief that the collective impact on Earth’s climate because of such spaceflights can be hazardous in the long run. However, like a dream that is not as dreamlike as it used to be, space is likely to be the next hot vacation destination in the following years to come.