Science

SpaceX to launch its first space tourism mission

AEROSPACE – A rocket from Elon Musk’s company is scheduled to send four passengers into space on Wednesday. For the first time in history, complete rookies, without any professional astronauts, will spend three days in orbit.

After Richard Branson on July 11 aboard the Virgin Galactic spacecraft and Jeff Bezos on the 20th, with his company Blue Origin, it is the turn of the billionaire Elon Musk to launch his space tourism mission, this Wednesday, September 15. Unlike his two rivals whose missions lasted only a few minutes, the founder of SpaceX leaves his place to four passengers who will spend three days in space.

If Elon Musk’s company has already transported ten astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on behalf of NASA, this time it is about taking the first private passengers even further to board the Dragon capsule, launched by the Falcon 9 rocket. .

Four novice passengers, without a professional astronaut.

Called Inspiration4, this mission will be commissioned by Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old American, head of a financial services company and experienced pilot. The price of his seat was not disclosed, but it would run into the tens of millions of dollars. The other three seats, each of which is said to embody a moral value, were awarded through an original process that began with an ad shown during halftime of the US Super Bowl sporting event.

Pediatric cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux represents “hope.” She will be the first person with a prosthesis to travel to space and surely the passenger least connected to this universe. The 29-year-old was selected because she works as a medical assistant at St Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. An establishment for which Jared Isaacman has launched a huge fundraiser.

A training of several months

Chris Sembroski, 42, got the “bounty” seat. He is a former US Air Force employee who now works in the aviation industry. The last place represents “prosperity” and was offered to Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old earth science professor who, in 2009, nearly became a NASA astronaut. She will only be the fourth African American woman to go into space.

The crew trained for several months. Each of its members has experienced the g-force, to which they will be exposed thanks to a centrifuge, an arm that rotates rapidly for several meters. Aboard parabolic flights, they were able to savor a sensation of weightlessness. They also hiked high-altitude snow on Mount Rainier in the northwestern United States. Eventually, they spent time at the SpaceX facility, although the flight would normally remain fully automated.

Read also

  • VIDEO – Aboard his Blue Origin rocket, Jeff Bezos in turn flew into space
  • Virgin Galactic, a flight that could have turned into a fiasco?

Takeoff is scheduled for Wednesday starting at 8pm on the US East Coast (Midnight GMT). Another launch opportunity is planned for Thursday if weather conditions call for it. Passengers will take off from the legendary Launch Pad 39A, at NASA’s Kennedy Center, Florida, from where the Apollo missions to the moon took off.

During the three days in orbit your sleep, heart rate, blood and cognitive abilities will be analyzed. Pre-flight and post-flight tests will be conducted to study the effect of travel on their bodies with the aim of accumulating data for the next private SpaceX passengers.

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