Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX announced that ‘Inspiration4’, its first all-civilian, non-governmental spaceflight, is on track for launch on September 15, 2021. The Crew Dragon spacecraft is set to be launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida in the US. It will take a group of four private citizens into space for three days.
The mission involves circling the Earth for three days, and then splashing down into the Atlantic Ocean. Inspiration4 will orbit the Earth at 575km, higher than the International Space Station (408km) and the Hubble space telescope (547km). This will be the farthest distance travelled by a crewed mission since 2009, when astronauts last went to repair the Hubble.
Along with the recent space journeys by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, Inspiration4 is seen as part of an effort to open up space travel to non-professionals.