SpaceX Inspiration4 all-civilian mission: How to watch the launch next week

The Inspiration4 crew from left to right: Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux.


Four “everyday people” are ready to make space history by strapping into a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and going for a three-day joyride around Earth. And it’s all for a good cause. The Inspiration4 mission is scheduled to launch as early as Sept. 14.

SpaceX will livestream the event, with more details coming closer to launch day. The 24-hour launch window opens at 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday, but SpaceX will narrow the window a few days ahead of time based on weather conditions.

The spacecraft will get off this rock with an assist from a Falcon 9 rocket leaving from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It’ll be a similar process to how SpaceX launches NASA astronauts, but Inspiration4 won’t be traveling to the International Space Station. 

What SpaceX calls “the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit” represents a new development in space tourism. The crew will fly much higher and longer than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos or Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson did on their recent suborbital flights.

Billionaire Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman is the commander of the mission, and he’s also funding it. Isaacman is an experienced aircraft pilot. Childhood cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, aerospace industry professional Chris Sembroski and geoscientist Sian Proctor make up the rest of the crew. 

The crew will conduct health research experiments during the flight, but the mission will also raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which specializes in treating childhood cancer. The spacecraft’s payload includes mission jackets, a ukulele, NFTs from a variety of artists, plush toys and other items that’ll be auctioned off as a fundraiser. The Samuel Adams brewery has committed up to $100,000 to St. Jude in exchange for 66 pounds of space-flown hops to make a special beer.

This may be one of the most well-documented crewed space missions ever. Netflix is running the Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space docuseries following the crew from launch to landing. Two episodes are already available on the streaming service, with more to come. 

Since Inspiration4 won’t be docking with the ISS, SpaceX has instead kitted out the nose of the Crew Dragon with a large, bowl-shaped window that should provide spectacular views of Earth. But first they’ll need to get to orbit with a lift from a very powerful rocket.  

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