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Science & Technology

SpaceX Completes First Civilian Trip to Space – Lesson

SpaceX becomes the trailblazer for space tourism as Crew Dragon Resilience safely lands.

The first private “amateur astronaut” team to launch into space and orbit Earth has successfully completed its trip. The Inspiration4 mission is the first chartered space flight that launched humans into space, but with no professional astronauts. It was run by the company SpaceX, which borrowed NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to use as a launch site.

The four-member crew successfully left Earth on Wednesday, September 15, and gracefully landed their vessel, called the Crew Dragon Resilience, on the following Saturday.

How It Went

According to Benji Reed, a senior director at SpaceX, “overall the mission was great—beautiful weather from start to finish—and it was really a great experience for everybody on the ground, and Dragon performed very well.”

The crew carried out medical experiments in an effort to help researchers better understand the effects microgravity has on the human body.

The Team

Leading the flight was “commander” Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire, who started a payment-processing company as a teenager.

Hayley Arceneaux, 29, is a childhood cancer survivor who has paid it forward by working as a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. Hayley is the youngest American to travel to space and the first ever to have a prosthesis, a titanium rod in her left leg.

Isaacman was kind enough to pay for the entire flight and mission. Both he and Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, made personal donations to St. Jude hospital. Isaacman donated $100 million and challenged some of his fellow billionaires to join in, prompting Musk to donate $50 million.

Sweepstake winners who got to hitch a ride to space were Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old data engineer from Washington, and Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old community college professor, geoscientist, and former astronaut candidate from Arizona. All four members spent six months training for their trip.

Space Tourism Continues

The crew members are already being called “trailblazers” for space tourism. SpaceX’s next voyage will include a retired NASA astronaut and three wealthy businessmen as they jet off for a long weekend.

Russia is also planning to send a film director, an actor, and a wealthy Japanese businessman to space in the next few months. NASA has historically opposed space tourism, but they have changed their tune and are on board.