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Liftoff! SpaceX's all-civilian Inspiration4 crew enters low-Earth orbit

The four-person crew has solidified their moment in history.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The four-person Inspiration4 crew has officially proven that a ride into space no longer requires being a professional astronaut.

Now, the crew, who spent months training for their history-making moment, will embark on a multi-day journey orbiting the planet we call home every 90 minutes. 

Liftoff went off without a hitch at 8:02 p.m. ET on Sept. 15 from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew, comprised of Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Dr. Sian Proctor, got a ride into orbit from the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

The mission plans to "inspire support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and send a humanitarian message of possibility while representing a new era for human spaceflight and exploration."

Onboard the Crew Dragon capsule, the civilian crew will conduct experiments "designed to expand our knowledge of the universe." According to SpaceX, the research will look at the impact of spaceflight on the human body.

Investigators will also "collect environmental and biomedical data and biological samples from Inspiration4’s four crew members before, during, and after this historic spaceflight," a press release reads.

Key details to keep in mind

  • The crew will spend several days in space before returning to Earth.
  • The mission was funded by 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman who then donated the remaining three seats.
  • A glass dome has been added to the Crew Dragon to give crew members a 360-degree view of outer space.
  • Crew members received six months of commercial astronaut training to prepare for their mission.


If you were unable to catch all the action live, don't worry. You can watch the launch in its entirety below: 

8:16 p.m. | September 15: The Crew Dragon has officially separated from the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage, SpaceX confirms.

8:13 p.m. | September 15: The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage's landing has been confirmed on the "Just Read The Instructions" droneship.

8:10 p.m. | September 15: SpaceX confirms main engine cutoff and stage separation.

8:03 p.m. | September 15: We have liftoff! SpaceX's first-ever all-civilian crew is on their way to space. 

8:02 p.m. | September 15: "Punch it SpaceX" Inspiration4 is given the final "go" for launch!

7:52 p.m. | September 15: The crew is receiving final instructions at T-10 minutes. SpaceX CORE has wished the crew Godspeed.

7:22 p.m. | September 15: Inspiration4 crew members are closing their visors and arming the launch escape system.

7:20 p.m. | September: The crew access arm has retracted, marking one of the last major visual milestones for liftoff.

7:10 p.m. | September 15: NASA comments on what the Inspiration4 launch means for the future of private companies transporting cargo and people to low-Earth orbit.

7:06 p.m. | September 15: The crew is T-1 hour from liftoff!

6:35 p.m. | September 15: Inspiration4 drops more crew pictures at the launch complex. The mission is about 90 minutes out from liftoff.

6:30 p.m. | September 15: We're getting a look at the crew's arrival at Launch Complex 39A. 

5:42 p.m. | September 15: A comms check has been cleared and the crew's seats have been rotated. The mission's closeout team is checking the cargo onboard ahead of hatch closing.

5:27 p.m. | September 15: The crew is suited up and being strapped into their seats. Next up, awaiting hatch closing.

4:20 p.m. | September 15: SpaceX founder Elon Musk is at Cape Canaveral for today's launch.

4:15 p.m. | September 15: Here we go! The Inspiration4 all-civilian crew is on the move. Next up, getting suited up for their mission

4:04 p.m. | September 15: Fueled up and ready to go! The Inspiration4 crew grabs a bite before only having access to space food for a few days.

2:56 p.m. | September 15: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson comments on the Inspirtation4 launch, saying it "reminds us of what can be accomplished when we partner with private industry!"

1:19 p.m. | September 15: SpaceX shares that all systems and weather are looking good for today's launch. 

11:48 a.m. | September 15: Hayley Arceneaux, who represents the mission's pillar of hope, sends a message ahead of her historic launch.

"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."

10:55 a.m. | September 15: It's launch day! SpaceX is slated to start giving an inside look into pre-launch preparations approximately four hours before liftoff.

1:06 a.m. | September 15: The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule are currently at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

September 14: The Inspiration4 crew discusses their upcoming three-day mission during a Q&A.

September 13: SpaceX completes full dress rehearsal ahead of launch day activities. A static fire test of Falcon 9 was successfully completed.

September 12: Inspiration4's weather conditions are said to be 70-percent favorable ahead of liftoff. The mission begins targeting an 8:02 p.m. launch window.

September 11: The four-person crew gets a look at their spacecraft as launch day nears.

September 10: Falcon 9 and the Crew Dragon await launch day in the hangar at Launch Complex 39A.

September 9: The four-person crew arrives at Kennedy Space Center after completing astronaut training at SpaceX headquarters.

September 3: Inspiration4 crew completes their flight readiness review and is given a "go" for launch.

September 1: A sneak peek of the crew's Dragon capsule shows it has been adapted to include a dome to give Inspiration4 some pretty incredible views of Earth.

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