The American space company SpaceX plans the launch, this Wednesday evening, of its first tourists in space. Four civilians must thus spend three days approximately 600 km in orbit of the Earth. Thanks to this mission, called Inspiration4, Elon Musk’s company intends to consolidate its position as a leading space company.
The flight is the first of its kind for novices unaccompanied by professional astronauts. This flight is indeed considered more ambitious and technically more difficult than those carried out last July by competing space companies founded by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, according to industry experts. This is the first time commercial astronauts have been put into orbit without government support, SpaceX said.
Led by Elon Musk and its chairman Gwynne Shotwell, the company aims to get ahead of its rivals by striving to rapidly develop its space equipment and prove its effectiveness. Founded in 2002 by the billionaire and boss of Tesla, SpaceX has always aimed to bring civilians to Mars one day. Along the way, the company landed contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, securing the agency’s support during the company’s early years. About twenty years later, SpaceX is today one of the contributors giving new impetus to American space ambitions, notably through highly publicized launches.
Last year, the company sent two NASA astronauts into orbit, where they docked with the International Space Station. It was the first launch with humans from the United States in nearly ten years. In addition, SpaceX had to face its share of difficulties in setting up its activities, including the explosion, in 2015 and the following year, of Falcon 9 rockets. According to Elon Musk, from the middle of the year 2007, the company was confronted with liquidity problems on several occasions and this during two years
CEO of Shift4 Payments Inc., a Wall Street-listed payment processing company, Jared Isaacman, who will lead the Inspiration4 flight, said his team has confidence in SpaceX’s technology and the training it receives. received alongside the other crew members. The training program consisted of using simulators to mimic flight and preparing for everything from a normal mission to emergencies, he said. The businessman paid SpaceX an undisclosed sum for the mission, which includes research for the crew members as well as a charity component.