Four American space tourists began an incredible weightless journey on a SpaceX spacecraft on Wednesday. They must spend three days in orbit around the Earth without any professional astronaut on board, a historic first.
The Falcon 9 rocket took off on time, 8:02 p.m. local (2:02 a.m. Thursday in Switzerland) from the legendary launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a roar and a fireball illuminating the night.
A few minutes later, the first and then the second stage of the rocket separated, leaving the Dragon capsule and its passengers alone in the cosmos.
“Few have been there before and many will follow. The door is opening now, it’s pretty amazing, ”billionaire Jared Isaacman, the mission commander, said from inside the capsule after reaching space.
Beyond the space station
They must travel farther than the International Space Station (ISS), at a target orbit of 575 km. Each day they will circumnavigate the globe about 15 times.
Called Inspiration4, the mission is supposed to embody a step towards the democratization of space, by proving that the cosmos is not reserved only for astronaut crews handpicked and trained over the years.
After receiving a visit from Elon Musk, boss of SpaceX and Tesla, the four passengers boarded around 4:00 p.m. local time in white Tesla, under the sun and the applause of a small crowd, to reach the building where they then went. put on their custom-made jumpsuit. Then they returned to the launch pad, got on board, and after a series of systems checks, the capsule hatch was closed.