SpaceX’s first tourists all set for ‘camper van’ trip to space

SpaceX’s first tourists all set for ‘camper van’ trip to space



The weather seems cooperative and the passengers are raring to go: SpaceX’s first space tourists were a picture of calm Tuesday; as they prepared to blast off on a three-day mission to orbit the Earth.


“No jitters, excited to get going!” American billionaire Jared Isaacman told reporters when asked his state of mind at a press conference.


Behind him towered the giant Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry the four-member, all civilian crew for the mission, dubbed Inspiration4.


“Any jitters are the good kind,” added 29-year-old physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux. “I’m just so excited for tomorrow to get here.”


Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Air Force veteran, even compared the extraordinary voyage to a “camper van” ride.


He’s not far off: the interior of the Dragon Capsule offers its occupants a cramped eight by four meters (27 by 13 feet) of space.


“You just wrap yourself in (sleeping bags) so you don’t float into each other during the middle of the night!” he joked.


They all said they got along well, even though they didn’t know each other before they started training only about six months ago.


Isaacman, who chartered the mission at his expense, ran a competition to choose the three joining him.


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“Since the announcement… every day has been the best day of my life, and it’s only getting better,” declared Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old geology professor who will become the first African American woman to assume the role of “pilot” on a spaceflight.


Clearly moved by the occasion, she shared that she and the crew had had a phone chat with former first lady Michelle Obama.


“We had a very nice conversation that will stay with you for the rest of my life.”


A take-off window begins at 8:02pm Wednesday (0002 GMT Thursday).


“Right now, the weather is trending well,” said Benji Reed, chief of crewed missions for SpaceX.



Here are the five key things to know about the mission:

1. This spacecraft has already taken 10 astronauts to the ISS on three separate missions.


2. The Dragon capsule, eight meters high and four meters wide, has been modified for this flight. A huge glass dome has been installed to offer passengers a 360-degree view of space.


3. The Dragon capsule will orbit Earth for three days at an altitude higher than the ISS.


4. The crew trained for just under six months; compared to years of preparation required for professional astronauts. Though the flight is expected to be fully automated; the team has been trained by SpaceX to take control in the event of an emergency.


5. The crew members’ sleep, heart rate, blood and cognitive functions will be analyzed during the mission in order to study how rookies react in space.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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