Inspiration 4: Why SpaceX’s first all-private mission is significant


Like SpaceX’s other manned missions, it is docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The Crew Dragon spacecraft for this mission will stay in Earth orbit on its own power for three days. Their spacecraft is called Resilience, and its internal volume is about three times that of a large car.In order for them to have something to do, the spacecraft docking port that is usually used to connect to the International Space Station has been transformed into a Glass dome, To provide the crew with a magnificent panoramic view of the earth and the universe.

In addition, the goal of the mission is limited.Some scientific experiments are planned, but the most noteworthy aspect of the mission is no happen. In particular, no crew will directly pilot the spacecraft. Instead, it will be autonomously controlled with the help of mission control on Earth. McDowell explained that this is not a trivial change and there are risks. “This is the first time that if the automated system doesn’t work, you may have real trouble,” he said. “This shows increased confidence in the software and automatic control systems, allowing you to fly on the plane without a company.”

All these combined make the launch of Inspiration4 an exciting time in manned spaceflight, even though it has been tried before. In the 1980s, NASA had hoped to launch a similar project, the Space Flight Participant Program, which was designed to give various private citizens the opportunity to fly to space by space shuttle. “Some people think that some astronauts are a little conservative in their descriptions of this flight,” said Alan Ladwig, the author and director of the project. NASA hopes that people can better exchange experiences, and has chosen a teacher, a reporter and an artist.

However, the plan ended in tragedy. Its first participant, Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire, died along with six other crew members in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. The plan was cancelled, and the entire space shuttle program stalled. Experts had imagined that it would perform hundreds of missions each year, but only made 110 launches in the following 25 years, until the space shuttle was decommissioned in 2011.

Currently, most space travel will still be the responsibility of professional astronauts and extremely wealthy people. If you are not rich, you can still only apply for competitions or hope to get a ticket from a wealthy benefactor-this may not be the bright future of space travel that many people imagine.

But Inspiration4 shows that more “ordinary” people have the opportunity to enter space, although few and far apart. “This is a milestone in humanity’s entry,” said John Logsdon, an emeritus professor and space historian at the Institute of Space Policy at George Washington University. “In a very simple sense, this means anyone can go.

“You won’t be in a Pan American The space plane is on its way to a huge rotating space hotel, but who can say what the future holds. “This is a brand new industry in its infancy, and we are seeing the first step,” Forczyk said. “We don’t know how far it will go.”


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