If you missed the launch of the most recent human spaceflight, fret not. You might find yourself bound for space in the next few years, and no one would have known. The latest orbital conquest consists of an all-civilian four-person crew dubbed the Inspiration4. The entire mission is funded by billionaire-entrepreneur-pilot Jared Isaacman to blast off into space with SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft powered by the Falcon 9 rocket. To see how it all began, you can catch their Netflix’s 5-part series ‘Countdown’ and get a better appreciation of what their mission means to the rest of the world. The idea is to prove that you don’t have to be a professional astronaut to go to space. Your next-door neighbour could practically go to space soon. In addition, the Inspiration4’s mission is to raise awareness on conquering childhood cancer by conducting a major fundraising campaign of achieving USD 200 million in donations.
With the recent success of sub-orbital launches into space by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin paving the way for the commercialisation of space tourism, the Inspiration4’s mission has gone a step further by orbiting the earth for 3 days at a distance of 580 km from earth whereas the International Space Station’s orbit is approximately 400 km from earth. However, with the recent exploits on space-bound activities, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States has quickly redefined who qualifies to be called an astronaut. This update disqualifies space tourists from being called astronauts unless they conduct a space experiment that benefits humankind. This development has prompted the crew of Inspiration4 to convey several verbal terms such as medical experiments, research, science, and science research in microgravity during their first 10-minutes live telecast from space. The Inspiration4’s crew showed their portable ultrasound scanner to verify their science that will benefit scientists on earth.
The telecast also showcased the world’s largest viewing space cupola with an artwork from Sian Proctor. Hayley Arceneaux did some flips, and Chris Sembroski played the ukulele. Who can blame them? Space is supposed to be fun if we are to be a multi-planetary species as envisioned by SpaceX’s Elon Musk. It doesn’t really matter to us if the oldest person to space, 82-year-old Wally Funk, is an astronaut or not. What she achieved with Blue Origin is an inspiring feat. She redefined the age limit for entry into space. What matters is with the successful launch of Inspiration4 on the 15th of September 2021, space is for everyone.