In a word: SpaceX’s first fully civilian spaceflight is scheduled to launch tonight from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A in Florida. The four civilians aboard the Dragon spacecraft will hitchhike into space via a reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and spend three days in orbit before landing at one of the many possible landing sites off the coast of the United States. Florida.
The flight is chartered by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who earlier this year donated two of four seats to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The hospital provides free care for children and young adults battling cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.
St. Jude donated one of the seats as a prize in a raffle and awarded the other to frontline worker at his hospital, Hayley Arceneaux, 29. With the flight, the bone cancer survivor will become the youngest American in space.
The crew will launch into an orbit of approximately 575 kilometers, which is higher than any human since Hubble’s maintenance missions. For reference, the International Space Station is in an orbit of about 408 kilometers and Hubble itself is about 540 kilometers above sea level.
During their time in orbit, the crew will circle the Earth approximately 15 times per day. Most importantly, they will conduct scientific research that could help advance human health here on Earth and on future long-duration space flights.
The launch window is expected to open at 8:02 p.m. EST and will remain open for five hours. SpaceX’s webcast will begin approximately four hours before launch and will be available for viewing on YouTube. In the meantime, you can check out an hour-long Q&A with the Inspiration4 team above.
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