Inspiration4, SpaceX’s all-civilian mission into orbit, is just hours from launch.
The launch window opens at 1am on Thursday morning UK time, or 8pm local eastern time. It is open for five hours, meaning that it will be delayed if the team are not able to fit in that window.
There will be a live stream of the launch, which will be embedded on this page as soon as it’s available.
After launch, the team will fly higher in orbit than any human since the Space Shuttle, spending three days in space conducting experiments and experiencing Earth at a distance. They will then fall back down to Earth, landing in the ocean for a splashdown.
If the mission is a success, it will mark a major step forward for space tourism, and for Elon Musk and SpaceX’s plans to make it accessible to anyone with the money to fund a rocket and spacecraft to carry them to orbit.
SpaceX Crew Dragon hatch closed
The hatch door of the Crew Dragon capsule has been closed.
We are now less than two hours away from the scheduled launch time.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 23:14
SpaceX fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital
SpaceX’s fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital has raised more than $100,000 since the live stream began two hours ago.
More than $100 million of the $200 million target had already been raised before the stream began through donations from crew commander Jared Isaacman, as well as the raffle for Christopher Sembroski’s seat.
You can find out more about the campaign and how to donate here:
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 23:13
SpaceX launch comms checks complete
Comms checks are complete and so far everything is going according to plan.
“All looking good for on time launch,” SpaceX says.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 22:55
SpaceX launch less than 2.5 hours away
The Inspiration4 crew are all safely strapped in to their seats onboard the Crew Dragon capsule.
Earlier we heard from SpaceX that weather conditions are nearly perfect, with “everything go for launch”.
Unlike other Crew Dragon launches that are bound for the International Space Station (ISS), there is a much bigger launch window for today’s launch.
In order to sync up with the space station, launches to the ISS have a window of just 1 second. Today’s launch window is five hours.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 22:35
Inspiration4 crew smiling and dancing
As they head towards the Crew Dragon capsule, the crew of Inspiration4 can’t stop grinning.
Sian Proctor even does a little dance as she gets ready to board.
As is customary, they’ll sign the white board before entering Crew Dragon and settling into their seats.
They’ll have more than two and a half hours to wait before liftoff.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 22:20
Inspiration4 crew suited up and on their way to launch pad
The Inspiration4 crew are back in the Teslas, which will now transport them to the launch pad.
They’ve spent the last half an hour or so getting suited up and they all look remarkably calm. They’ve been fist bumping, waving and taking photos – usually with a big grin on their faces.
Less than three hours to go until launch.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 22:04
The teacher whose journey to space began with a tweet
The final seat belongs to Sian Proctor, who won her place through an entrepreneur competition set up by Jared Isaacson.
Her first statement of intent to take part in the competition came in the form of a tweet: “Hello everyone, thank you for supporting my space art and poetry journey.”
She is the pilot and will embody “Prosperity” in the four virtues represented in the Inspiration4 mission.
You can read Proctor’s story here.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 21:54
The man who won a trip to space with a raffle ticket
The third seat of the Inspiration4 mission belongs to Christopher Sembroski, who entered a raffle for the prize.
He didn’t actually win the 72,000-person raffle, but he was lucky enough to be friends with the person who did win it. That person gave him the prize in recognition of his lifelong interest in space.
His seat represents “Generosity”, with the raffle raising around $113 million for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (where crewmate Hayley Arceneaux was treated and now works).
You can read all about him here.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 21:43
The cancer survivor SpaceX will take to orbit
Representing “Hope” for the mission is cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux.
Anyone who has watched Netflix’s Countown docu-series about the mission will be familiar with Arceneaux’s incredible story, who now works at the same children’s hospital that she was treated at for bone cancer at the age of 10.
She has been assigned the job of Medical Officer and will oversee the medical care and experiments during the Inspiration4 mission.
Arceneaux will break a number of records today: becoming the first person with a prosthesis in space, and the first paediatric cancer survivor in space. She would’ve also been the youngest person in space but was pipped to this record by an 18-year-old onboard Jeff Bezos’s recent jaunt to the edge of space (whose ticket was paid for by his rich dad).
You can read her story here.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 21:25
Profiles of the SpaceX Inspiration4 crew
There are four people aboard the first all-civilian mission to orbit today, and we’ve got profiles of all of them.
With just under four hours to go until launch, there’s plenty of time to read them if you want to learn more about this pioneering group.
First up, there’s the Commander of the mission, Jared Isaacman.
The billionaire entrepreneur was the first seat confirmed, having committed $100 million to help make it happen.
As with the rest of the crew, Isaacman has given himself a virtue that he will embody. He is “Leadership”, with the others representing “Hope”, “Generosity” and “Prosperity”.
You can read more about him here.
Anthony Cuthbertson15 September 2021 21:12