SpaceX’s civilian Inspiration4 crew prepares to launch


“We have been conducting one of the largest fundraising events, acknowledging our responsibility on the planet,” Isaacson said at a press conference on Tuesday.

For Walkowicz, although the heavy social media components of the selection process are understandable from SpaceX’s perspective, there may be problems. “We are all very aware of the way that social media reinforces existing prejudices, that is, people comply with gender and racial norms,” ​​they said.

Although government astronauts are no longer the only space travelers, tickets for private space flights now seem to be reserved for the wealthy or friends who rely on generosity. Bimm said: “Space is still a very elite place; it’s only for elites. The type is changing.”

Nevertheless, although this space flight is usually described as an “all civilian” flight, most of the participants are not too different from the astronauts who have experienced NASA’s traditional process. Kathryn Denning, an anthropologist and space ethics researcher at York University in Toronto, said: “Isaacman, Sembroski, and Proctor have dedicated their lives to majors related to flight and space. Development and experience, so they have not really set foot in this field.”, wrote in an email to WIRED.

Arcenaux has less experience than others, but they have been training for the mission since March. “This is a very intense training program,” said Scott “Kid” Potter, who worked with Eriksson to guide the Inspiration4 mission. “They have gone through several hours of simulator training, including the operation of the Dragon capsule. It includes fighter training, including experiencing G-forces and climbing Mount Rainier. This is a challenging environment and conditions. They are in addition to success. did not do anything.”

Arcenaux’s prosthesis is no longer an obstacle to space flight that it used to be: this spring, European Space Agency The recruitment of physically disabled astronauts for the first time; some space experts pointed out that prosthetic limbs can Conducive to zero gravity.

For NASA, encouraging the emerging aerospace industry has always been part of the plan, especially since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. NASA invested in commercial crew suppliers-SpaceX and Boeing a decade ago-and it is expected that the company will be able to send astronauts to the space station and possibly others into space. In May 2020, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft Bring two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, with Took them home again, This is the historic first time for a public-private mission.

From now to 2021, four different private orbital missions are planned in the next year or so, including missions to the space station by SpaceX and Houston-based space infrastructure company Axiom Space. NASA’s chief economist Alexander MacDonald said: “This is why we have launched a commercial crew program to allow others to enter space and cultivate the beginning of new industries.” “Now we are expected to enter commercial manned spaceflight. Mature stage.”

According to Benji Reed, SpaceX’s director of manned spaceflight, this is the first phase of space travel that is becoming more and more common. “In the long run, space flight will become like an airline. Buy a ticket and go,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday. Although the passengers of Inspiration4 have undergone astronaut-like training, he said that in the future, “we hope to reduce training while ensuring safety.”

On orbit, the Inspiration4 crew will be out of gravity, and they will have a life-changing experience of watching our own small world from a distance. Unlike NASA astronauts, they will have their own personal goals and interests in orbit.In a movie based on Carl Sagan’s novel touch, The protagonist played by Judy Foster stared at another world for the first time and said in awe: “They should send a poet. Speaking of Proctor, Mongo said: “Now they will. “

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