Space tourists trip the flight fantastic

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 17 Sep 2021

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying four American space tourists blasted off yesterday as the first mission to orbit the globe with an all-civilian crew.

The spaceship will go up to 575 kilometers, which is deeper into space than the International Space Station.

SpaceX hasn't said what the trip cost Jared Isaacman, the 38-year-old billionaire who chartered the flight. His three crewmates for the Inspiration4 mission were selected through a competition, and their stories have been followed in a Netflix documentary.

Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a pediatric cancer survivor, is the youngest American to go into orbit and the first person with a prosthesis.

Chris Sembroski, 42, is an Air Force veteran who now works as an aerospace data engineer, while Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old geoscientist and educator, is the fourth African-American woman to go to space.

Their biological data will be monitored and analyzed throughout the flight to study the health impacts of space.

Former US first lady Michelle Obama congratulated the crew after lift-off, saying: "They're inspiring us all with their courage, curiosity and passion. I'm thinking of all the young people who'll be looking up to this crew and dreaming big thanks to them."

One of mission's goals is to prove that the cosmos is accessible to people who have not trained as astronauts.

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