Inspiration 4: Why SpaceX’s first all-private mission is important

Rather than docking with the International Space Station (ISS) like other SpaceX crew missions, the mission’s Crew Dragon spacecraft instead stays in Earth orbit for three days on its own. The crew eats, drinks, sleeps and uses the toilet inside. The range of their spacecraft named Resilience, which boasts about three times the internal volume of large vehicles. To continue occupying them, the spacecraft docking ports normally used to connect to the ISS are transformed into glass domes, giving the crew a stunning panoramic view of the Earth and the universe beyond.

Beyond this, mission goals are limited.Several scientific experiments are planned, but the most notable aspect of the mission is what happens No Occur. In particular, no crew will fly the spacecraft directly. Instead, it is autonomously controlled and returned to Earth to be controlled with the help of mission control. McDowell explains that it’s not a trivial change, and there are risks associated with it. “For the first time, if the automated system doesn’t work, you may really have a problem,” he says. “This shows that there is increasing confidence in software and automated control systems that can fly tourists without chaperones.”

All of this combined to make the Inspiration 4 launch an exciting moment in manned spaceflight, albeit a previously tentative attempt. In the 1980s, NASA wanted to start something similar. The Space Shuttle Participant Program is an effort to give various civilians the opportunity to fly into space on the Space Shuttle. “Some of the astronauts felt a bit understated in explaining the flight,” says Alan Radwig, the author of the program. NASA chose teachers, journalists, and artists in search of people who could better communicate their experiences.

However, the program has come to a tragic end. Its first participant, New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe, died in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion along with six other crew members. The program was canceled and the Space Shuttle program as a whole stagnated. Experts once assumed that it would fly hundreds of missions a year, but until the shuttle retired in 2011, there were only 110 launches over the next 25 years.

Most of the space travel is the mission of professional astronauts for the time being and remains very wealthy. Even if you’re not rich, you’re limited to applying for competition or expecting tickets from wealthy benefactors-probably not the bright future of space travel that many imagine.

However, Inspiration4 shows that more “ordinary” people have few opportunities to go to space, but are available. “This is a milestone in human access,” says space historian John Logsdon, an emeritus professor at the George Washington University Institute for Space Policy. “In a very simple sense, that means anyone can go.” You wouldn’t fly Pan Am It’s a spaceplane on the way to a huge rotating space hotel, but who says what will happen in the future? “This is a brand new industry that is still in its infancy and we are looking at the first steps,” says Forczyk. “I don’t know how far it will run.”

Inspiration 4: Why SpaceX’s first all-private mission is important

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