“Few have come before, and many are about to follow. The door’s open now and it’s pretty incredible,” - Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman on the SpaceX livestream, close to 10 minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX launched its Inspiration4 mission on Wednesday evening, successfully bringing an all-civilian crew into orbit for the first time. The mission saw four people, who were not NASA astronauts, blast to an altitude of 360 miles (580 km), even farther than the International Space Station (ISS). The crew has embarked on a three-day voyage and “is set to return to Earth on Saturday, September 18 with a targeted splashdown at 7:06 p.m. EDT in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.”

The crew of Inspiration4 includes:

  1. Pilot Sian Proctor, the first Black female spacecraft pilot,
  2. Medical officer Hayley Arceneaux, becoming the youngest U.S. citizen in space at 29 years old,
  3. Mission specialist Chris Sembroski, and
  4. Jared Isaacman, CEO of Shift4 Payments, serving as the spacecraft’s commander.

Zoom In: Isaacman purchased the flight for an undisclosed fee to raise awareness for St. Jude’s Children Hospital, with a fundraiser goal of $200 million. The crew will collect biomedical data such as ECG activity, blood oxygen saturation, cabin noise, and light intensity to research the impact of spaceflight on the human body. Their organs will be scanned via a Butterfly IQ+ ultrasound device using AI.

Update: Inspiration4 successfully landed off the coast of Florida at 7:06 p.m. EDT on Saturday.

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