Inspiration4 crew completes SpaceX training and heads to Kennedy Space Centre ahead of pioneering flight
The crew of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission are on their way towards their pioneering flight.
The four-strong crew have completed their astronaut training with SpaceX and will now head to Kennedy Space Centre, where the launchpad and their Falcon 9 rocket awaits to carry them to orbit.
The launch is due to happen on 15 September, though may be delayed if weather or other conditions make it unsafe.
The astronaut training for the team was conducted at SpaceX’s facilities in Hawthorne, California.
They have gone through an unusually intense training schedule – compressed into a much smaller time than usual – different from any team that have gone into orbit before.
That is despite the fact that the Crew Dragon capsule that will carry them up into orbit, around and back down to Earth again is autonomous, and the crew will only be required to control it in the event of a very dire emergency.
Just as the training is different from any before, so is the crew and their mission. They will be the first ever entirely private trip into orbit, marking a breakthrough for SpaceX and its plan to make space tourism accessible to anyone who has the vast funds required to charter a trip.
The mission is being paid for by Jared Isaacman, a billionaire who made his fortune with an online payment system. The other seats are being used to market the trip and also to raise funds for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital – one seat is being taken by Hayley Arceneaux, who was a patient at the hospital and now works there, and another was sold through a raffle to raise funds for the institution.