The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was successfully delivered to orbit in its first all-civilian mission, Inspiration4.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the capsule took off on September 15, 8:02 p.m. Eastern Standard time, at Kennedy Space Center.
Two and a half minutes later the first stage separated and landed on a recovery barge, while the spacecraft proceeded flying around the Earth at Low Earth Orbit.
Inspiration4 is expected to spend three days there, becoming the first private, all-civilian mission to orbit. In contrast, all previous space tourism was either conducted by government space agencies, or was sub-orbital, meaning that the spacecraft were incapable of staying in space beyond several minutes.
View from Dragon’s cupola pic.twitter.com/Z2qwKZR2lK— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021
Inspiration4 was funded by billionaire Jared Isaacman. It is conducted on Crew Dragon Resilience, the same capsule, built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, that performed the company’s first crewed flight to the International Space Station in November 2020.
Instead of the docking systen, the reusable capsule was modified with a special observational cupola. After returning to Earth on September 19, 2021, it is expected to perform its third mission in early 2022.