Today is a historic day. The first all-civil spaceflight was launched from Launch Complex 39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This flight was designed to increase awareness and raise funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and to inspire people around the globe.
This flight was sponsored by Jared Isaacman, Shift4Payments and SpaceX. It shows how space access is expanding rapidly.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off from the launch pad on a SpaceX Falcon 9 at 08:02 AM local time (0002UTC). The rocket took off without problems and quickly rose into the night sky before reaching orbit.
SpaceX's mission controllers waited impatiently for any updates. People from all around the globe watched the live streaming of the event.
This mission is a milestone in many ways. It is not only the first all-civil spaceflight but also the first crewed orbital mission without a crew since 2009's STS-125.
Crew members are aiming for a 575km orbit. This is a distance that's further than any human since Hubble. The mission will last approximately three days.
Jared Isaacson was the mission's benefactor and CEO of Shift4Payments. He also served as commander. Dr. Sian Proctor was also on the crew, an analog astronaut, and professor of geoscience.
Hayley Arceneaux was a Physicians Assistant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and served as mission specialist. Chris Sembroski, an aeronautical engineer retired USAF officer, served as the mission specialist.
They represent the mission ideals Leadership, Prosperity Hope, Generosity and Prosperity together. The money raised through this mission will be used to fund life-saving research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital thanks to their participation and commitment.
St. Jude is a pediatric hospital that specializes in cancer research. It's also where crew member Arceneaux was treated for bone cancer when he was a child. Now, Arceneaux works as a personal assistant at St. Jude.
Isaacman stated just before launch:
As we get ready to launch, our crew understands the importance and responsibility of this mission. We are well-prepared for what lies ahead. We look forward to sharing our experiences with the world, as we continue to draw attention to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
At 2m 45s, the first stage separated and the second stage started its Merlin engine. The first and second stages started picking up light from Sun at 5 minutes. This created a "jellyfish" effect in the night sky.
The first stage fired its cold gas thrusters to reorient it for reentry. This produced a flashing effect. This created a spectacular visual display of bright lights across the night sky.
The first stage started its engines for the reentry burn at 7m 30s. By 9m 40 it had landed at sea. Just follow the instructions. The second stage was 200 km above the sea level within 10 minutes of launch and ready to deploy the Dragon spacecraft.
The Resilience separated from the second stage at 12:15, officially placing the Inspiration4 crew in orbit!
The crew of four were seen in their seats, and they were very happy throughout the flight. Isaacson and Dr. Proctor looked after the Resilience's flight terminals. Sembroski and Dr. Proctor were seen fist-bumping one another after Crew Dragon left the second stage of the spacecraft. Dr. Proctor also gave the thumbs-up to the camera several times during the flight.
Universe Today's Max Evans was there to capture the launch (images are posted above and below). He said this about the event:
"What an amazing spectacle! The press site at KSC hasn’t been so alive in quite a while. The crowd was electric and cheers were heard from the crowd as the 9 Merlins engines ignited. Every person in the crowd knew that Resilience and the Falcon 9 were going to be flying off of LC-39A. Everyone felt honored to have been a part. It was a wonderful time to be alive.
About 15 minutes after launch, crew nose cones of the Resilience were opened to reveal the cupola, which was attached to the spacecraft instead of the docking adapter.
This mission has the primary goal of raising awareness and funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It specializes in pediatrics as well as cancer research. Only the live stream raised US$300,000. This was for children's cancer research.
Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO, American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, was a spokesperson for St. Jude's.
He said it as follows:
We are grateful to Jared for his extraordinary leadership as commander of the historic mission, and for helping to raise $200 Million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Inspiration4 is of vital importance. This mission is a step forward in citizen space travel, and it gives hope to children. Around 400,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. Curing catastrophic diseases in children is a multi-trillion-dollar, multi-year problem and the public's support through initiatives like Inspiration4 makes it possible for us to raise the critical funds needed to help save children everywhere."
Visit the Inspiration4 website for more information about how you can help. Be sure to watch the replays above and below!
Universe Today originally published this article. You can read the original article.