On Wednesday, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft was launched into orbit from Cape Canaverall without a professional astronaut in its crew for the first time in the history of space flight. All four people on board are space tourists who will spend three days in Earth orbit.
The idea of the flight belongs to the American billionaire Jared Isaacman. Together with him, a nurse from the St. Jude, lottery winner and city college teacher. The formal purpose of the flight is to collect donations for the children’s hospital. Isaacman pays for the flight, but the cost of the expedition is not reported.
This automated Dragon spacecraft has already been in space. He flew the astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The Falcon rocket has already been used to launch spacecraft, and at Isaacman’s request, the flight will take place in an unusually high orbit 575 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, 160 kilometers above the ISS’s orbit. Despite the complete automation of flight control processes, its participants underwent six months of emergency training, which included training in a centrifuge, flying fighter aircraft and simulating the process of launching and landing on space simulators.
This flight, as its participants and organizers hope, will be an important step towards a relatively mass space tourism. “Low-Earth orbit is becoming more accessible to more people to experience the wonders of space,” US Space Agency chief Bill Nelson tweeted.
SpaceX is planning its next tourist flight early next year. Then three entrepreneurs should go to the ISS, accompanied by a former astronaut.