(ReliableNews.org) – In 1985, US Senator Jake Garn (R-UT), head of the NASA oversight committee, became the first guest astronaut to crew a spaceflight. He made a seven-day flight and conducted a “Toys in Space” study while up there. The next year, the space agency was going to take another civilian astronaut up into space. On January 28, 1986, The Challenger launched with teacher Christa McAuliffe on board, but the space shuttle exploded minutes later, killing the entire crew.
In the decades since the disaster, other civilians have gone into space. However, there has never been a shuttle with only civilians on board — until now.
SpaceX Makes History
On Wednesday, September 15, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX made history. An all-civilian crew successfully launched into space for the first time. The Inspiration4 took off from Launch Complex 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 8:02 pm, as Americans watched with joy.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 16, 2021
Billionaire Jared Isaacman, 38, is the mission commander of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon Resilience spacecraft while it orbits in space. Isaacman is the CEO of Shift4 Payments, and he is funding the trip.
Isaacman, a married father of two children, told the Wall Street Journal that space has fascinated him since he was a kid. He is an accomplished pilot who is certified to fly dozens of planes, including high-performance jets. This is the first time he has flown a space shuttle. He told the paper that if the mission goes wrong, “people are going to say that we shouldn’t have done this.” Fortunately, everything is going right.
Three others joined Isaacman on the flight. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Physician Assistant Hayley Arceneaux, Aerospace Data Engineer Chris Sembroski, and Geoscientist Sian Proctor are all on board. Arceneaux, 29, is a cancer survivor and the youngest American to ever go into space.
I want to thank everyone for all the support, encouragement, and love. And thank you to @stjude for being the reason I’m here today.
This is for everyone who’s ever been through something difficult, and I know we all have. Hold onto hope because there WILL be better days 💕 pic.twitter.com/oxIUq5hxUz
— Hayley Arceneaux (@ArceneauxHayley) September 15, 2021
The flight also marked a milestone for space tourism. This particular flight took off because a billionaire paid for it. Recently, Jeff Bezos and Richard Bronson, both billionaires, have made it quite clear that they’d like to take others up into space, although neither one has actually gone into orbit.
As space technology improves thanks to the work of people like Elon Musk, it’s becoming more likely that civilians will be able to travel into space more often.
Is space tourism going to start sooner than we think? We’ll find out soon enough.
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