SpaceX’s first-ever all-civilian launch under the Inspiration4 mission is nearing its execution as the mission crew announced on September 13 that the weather will be 70% favourable on the day of lift-off. In a tweet by the mission’s official Twitter handle, it was also informed that the launch window, which begins at 5:30 am IST, has been narrowed to five hours. This comes after the team successfully completed a full day of launch rehearsal activities.
Significance of Inspiration4
The partly philanthropic launch, to be led by billionaire tech entrepreneur and pilot Jared Issacman, is being considered fairly significant as it will pave way for commercialised civilian launches in the future. Accompanied by St. Jude physician’s assistant and cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, data engineer Chris Sembroski, and Sian Proctor (geoscientist, science communicator and commercial astronaut), Issacman aims to raise $200 million to aid children at the St. Jude hospital from the auctions of the payload being carried to the orbit for three days.
Besides, astronauts in this orbital mission will also conduct several experiments that will determine human limitations in space. The experiments to be conducted will include monitoring ECG activity of the astronauts, heart rate and rhythms, sleep, movement and blood oxygen levels along with cognitive and behavioural performance of the crew members.
Payload to raise $200 million
The launch will see the first-ever minted Non-fungible token (NFT) song created by the rock band ‘Kings of Leon’, titled ‘Time in Disguise’ that will be auctioned to benefit the children’s hospital. Besides, astronauts will also carry souvenirs like a ukulele designed by music company Martin Guitar along with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math toys, also known as STEM toys.
Additionally, the previous edition of the Time magazine that had featured all four crew members on their cover page will also be sold for charity with autographs of every crew member.
When and where to watch
Interested viewers can catch the action live on streaming service Netflix’s YouTube channel at 5:30 am IST on September 16. To offer a deeper dive into the project, Netflix released two episodes, on September 6, documenting the crew’s preparation followed by two episodes on September 13. Lastly, it will stream the return journey on September 30.