February 28, 2021

SpaceX announces first “fully commercial” mission to space by 2021


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
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The company Spacex announced this Monday that at the end of this year it will launch from Cape Canaveral (Florida) the Falcon 9 rocket in charge of the Inspiration4 mission, “the world’s first fully commercial astronaut mission” to orbit the Earth for “several days”.

SpaceX said in a statement that the launch, with a crew of four civilians, will be from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Elon Musk’s company stressed that Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, one of the four crew members who will be on board Dragon, will donate the other three seats for members of the general public to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Inspiration4 crew will receive commercial astronaut training from SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and the Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, microgravity operation, zero gravity and other tests.

The civilians will go through “emergency preparedness training, spacecraft and space suit entry and exit exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations,” the statement said.

This multi-day journey, orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a custom flight path, will be carefully monitored at each step by SpaceX mission control.

Upon completion of the mission, Dragon will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere to land off the coast of Florida.

The company specified that the mission will be carried out “not before fourth quarter of this year“.

He recalled that in 2020 SpaceX “returned the capacity” of U.S to carry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time since the last Space Shuttle flight in 2011.

He stressed that in addition to flying NASA personnel, Dragon was also designed to carry commercial astronauts to Earth orbit, the ISS or beyond.

Last week the Axiom Space company announced to the crew that it will be part of the first private mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which they will possibly arrive at the beginning of next year aboard a SpaceX capsule.

Headed by Hispanic-American Michael López-Alegría, a former NASA astronaut who has already been on four other missions in space, Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) will depart from Cape Canaveral, Florida (USA) with American Larry Connor , Canadian Mark Pathy and Israeli Eytan Stibbe on board.

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