09/16/2021 11:26 AM
Updated 09/16/2021 11:26 AM
During the early hours of Thursday, SpaceX successfully launched the Inspiration4 mission, the first civilian crew, into space, marking
a new milestone for commercial space travel
Also, it unveiled its fabulous glass dome
that offers a 360 ° view of the Earth
This glass dome
replaces the docking system and hatch used
by NASA astronauts to access the International Space Station (ISS), so it will only be used on tourist missions that do not need to dock.
The SpaceX engineers themselves defined the adaptation as an "engineering marvel", since it is the "
largest contiguous space window that has ever flown
The visual spectacle began when the SpaceX capsule was left out of Earth's atmosphere.
Slowly, the metal cover was opened to reveal
the dome that allows the crew to enjoy the view.
Of course, it is a small space, so you can only do it one at a time.
When the Crew Dragon re-enters the Earth's atmosphere on the way back, the ship will activate the
folding cover that will be able to return to its position
and make a complete seal to avoid the impact of a small body.
View from Dragon's cupola pic.twitter.com/Z2qwKZR2lK
- SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021
As Musk himself explained, the dome has a similar function to the observation module that was installed on the ISS in 2010, but in the case of the Crew Dragon the dome is made up of
a single piece of transparent glass
, while on the ISS the module consists of several panels in the form of small observation windows.
This historic step for private space travel follows several months of great activity by the US space agency NASA thanks to SpaceX rockets and reusable capsules, which reduce the costs of new commercial missions, which began in 2020.
But this time the crew members are billionaire pilot Jared Isaacman, aeronautical engineer Chris Sembroski, medical assistant Hayley Arceneaux, who is a cancer survivor, and scientist and educator Sian Proctor.
The four civilians, hours before takeoff.Photo EFE
The four civilians, who received training for six months on maneuvers in zero gravity, will now cross the Earth at a speed of about 28,160 kilometers per hour and will circle this planet every 90 minutes.
Unlike previous commercial missions, which have been specially in charge of bringing astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), this new mission takes civilians to a distance from Earth greater than that of said international laboratory microgravity.
It will reach an altitude of about 575 kilometers from Earth, about 160 kilometers higher than the ISS, "farther than any other human space flight since the Hubble missions (540 kilometers)," according to SpaceX.
Civilians on the take-off ramp.Photo EFE
This tour is also superior to the suborbital trips recently made at three times the speed of sound by millionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, the leaders of the space companies Virgin and Blue Origin, respectively, who experienced weightlessness for just a few minutes.
Inspiration4 is the fourth manned mission for SpaceX, but the first that does not carry professionally trained astronauts, and it also has a goal of raising $ 200 million for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
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