Instead of docking with the International Space Station (ISS) like other SpaceX crew missions, the mission’s crew, the Dragon Spacecraft, will be in Earth orbit for three days under its own power. The crew will eat, drink, sleep and use the toilet inside. The limitations of their spacecraft, named Resilience, are three times the internal volume of a large car. To capture them, the docking port of the spacecraft, which would normally be used to connect to the ISS, has been converted into a glass dome, giving the crew spectacular views of Earth and the outside of the universe.
In addition, mission goals are limited. Some scientific experiments have been planned, but what is the most significant aspect of the mission No Happens. In particular, none of the crew will pilot the spacecraft directly. Instead, it will be controlled autonomously and back to Earth using mission control. It’s not a minor change, McDowell explains, and there are risks involved. “For the first time, if automated systems don’t work, you can get into real trouble,” he says. “What this shows is the growing confidence in the software and automatic control systems that allow you to fly tourists without a chapron.”
All of these combinations, although previously temporarily attempted, make the launch of the Inspiration 4 an exciting moment in the human spacecraft. In the 1980s, NASA hoped to launch something similar – the Space Flight Participant Program, an attempt to give various private citizens the opportunity to fly in space on the space shuttle. “It felt like some astronauts had a little reserve in the description of the flight,” says Alan Ladwig, author who led the program. NASA wants people who can better communicate the experience and choose a teacher, journalist and artist.
However, the program ended tragically. Her first participant, Krista McAuliffe, a teacher from New Hampshire, died along with six other crew members in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. The program was canceled, and the space shuttle program as fully frozen. Experts once envisioned it would fly hundreds of missions a year, but by the time the shuttle retired in 2011, only 110 more had been launched in the next 25 years.
Most space travelers will be professional astronauts and extremely wealthy right now. Even if you are not rich you will be limited to applying for competitions or expecting a ticket from a wealthy beneficiary – perhaps not the glorious future of many imagined space travel.
But Motivation 4 shows that there are opportunities for more “regular” people to go into space, albeit a few and far away. “It’s a milestone in human access,” says John Logsden, an emeritus space historian and professor at the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. “In a very simple sense, it means anyone can go.”
You will not fly into one Pan m Space plane on your way to a huge revolving space hotel, but who will tell what will happen in the future. “This is a brand new industry in its infancy, and we’re seeing the first steps,” says Forzic. “We don’t know how long it will last.”