SpaceX on Thursday shared an image of the breathtaking view that the four civilian passengers aboard the Crew Dragon capsule will get to enjoy over the next three days as they orbit around the Earth.
The 14-second clip shot from the cupola of the capsule shows a sweeping view of the planet.
Dubbed Inspiration4, the mission launched Wednesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida just after 8 p.m.
During their live-streamed ascent, some of the crew gave a “thumbs up” and pumped their fists in the air in celebration of the successful liftoff.
The four private citizens — two men and two women — will spend three days circling the world at an altitude of 335 miles — about 75 miles higher than the International Space Station and on a level with the Hubble Space Telescope.
The amateur astronauts — Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Dr. Sian Proctor — have been training for months since the flight crew was announced in March.
The SpaceX capsule is much higher and will spend substantially more time in space than that of its rivals, Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin or Sir Richard Branson-owned Virgin Galactic.
Those two companies have yet to reach orbit and have only launched passengers barely across the official US-recognized border of space.
With Wednesday’s successful launch, the Elon Musk-helmed SpaceX has demonstrated its passenger flights as the most technologically advanced of the private companies.
“We went right on up and I saw darkness. I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren’t quite high enough,” said Funk, now the oldest person to travel to space.
The suborbital Blue Origin flight goes about 10 miles higher than rival Virgin Galactic’s.
Footage from aboard the Blue Origin flight at the time showed that passengers could see parts of the Earth from the capsule windows.
In contrast, passengers aboard the SpaceX capsule appear to be able to see the entire planet in one glance.
That view could give passengers what astronauts have described as the “overview effect,” a state of mental clarity that some astronauts have said occurs when they’re so far from Earth that they see the planet hanging in space and are struck by the fragility of the planet.