As reported on Business Insider:
- SpaceX just launched its first tourist crew into Earth’s orbit aboard its Crew Dragon spaceship.
- The mission, called Inspiration4, will have four civilians orbiting in the spaceship for three days.
- NASA astronauts’ video from inside the ship shows how cramped their quarters will be.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
SpaceX just launched four people, none of whom are professional astronauts, into Earth’s orbit.
Now that crew is set to circle the planet for three days aboard the company’s Crew Dragon spaceship. The inside of the capsule will probably get cramped. With four seats, control displays, and storage, the four passengers will have about enough space to move around as they would inside a walk-in closet.
Billionaire Jared Isaacman chartered the flight from SpaceX and called the mission Inspiration4. He gave the other three seats to Hayley Arceneaux, who survived bone cancer as a child and now works at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran who works for Lockheed Martin; and Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist who serves as an analogue astronaut in simulations of long-term Mars missions.
In training for their mission, the Inspiration4 crew spent 30 hours inside the capsule together for a simulation at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. During that time, they were cramped in a very small space. Gravity holding them down only made it smaller.
"We’re literally sleeping right next to each other," Proctor told Axios reporter Miriam Kramer. "You’re doing so many mental tasks and physical exertion that, even though it was not comfortable, I still fell asleep."
Now that they’re in orbit, and they’re all floating in microgravity, they can take advantage of the vertical space inside the capsule too. But even then, it will be cramped. Just watch these four astronauts giving a tour of Crew Dragon, high above Earth, in November:
Those astronauts were only inside the spaceship for about one day. Their Crew Dragon docked with the International Space Station, where the astronauts lived and worked for six months before climbing back aboard the spaceship and returning to Earth.
But unlike those astronauts, the Inspiration4 crew will have a glass dome at the nose of their spaceship. Because they don’t need to dock to the space station, SpaceX replaced that docking port with this cupola. The passengers can stick their heads into the dome and get the full experience of drifting through space.
Incidentally, that’s also where the spaceship’s toilet is.
"When people do inevitably have to use the bathroom, they’re going to have one hell of a view," Isaacman told Insider in June.
This Crew Dragon will feel roomy compared to what SpaceX has in store. In the future, the company plans to launch as many as seven people aboard the spaceship.
Source: Business Insider
Author: firstname.lastname@example.org (Morgan McFall-Johnsen)
Date: September 16th 2021
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