Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Friday shared more images from inside its Crew Dragon capsule that’s already brought its four civilian passengers around the Earth more than 15 times, according to the mission, dubbed “Inspiration4.”
One image, shared shortly after midnight, shows the whole crew — Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Dr. Sian Proctor — floating in what appears to be zero gravity as they orbit the planet.
“The crew of #Inspiration4 had an incredible first day in space!” the mission’s official account tweeted along with the images. “They’ve completed more than 15 orbits around planet Earth since liftoff and made full use of the Dragon cupola.”
Another photo shows Isaacman, the 38-year-old billionaire founder of payments processing firm Shift4 Payments and “mission commander” of Inspiration4, peering out the cupola of the capsule with a gaping view of Earth behind him.
Isaacman, who has an estimated net worth of $2.4 billion, paid an undisclosed sum to SpaceX to commission the flight, with Time Magazine pegging the figure at $200 million.
Another shot shows Arceneaux — a 29-year-old childhood bone cancer survivor who’s now a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — looking back toward Earth from the capsule’s altitude of 335 miles — about 75 miles higher than the International Space Station and on a level with the Hubble Space Telescope.
And the last snap shared Friday shows Sembroski, a 42-year-old Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer at Lockheed Martin, looking through what appears to be a telescope from the capsule’s cupola.
All four amateur astronauts 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.
“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.
Still, Bezos politely thanked his rival Musk on Thursday for SpaceX’s successful launch, calling it “another step towards a future where space is accessible to all of us.”
Despite their heated legal battle over the two billionaire’s space companies‘ battle for government contracts, Musk simply replied, “Thank you.”