Civilian-only SpaceX rocket successfully enters Earth orbit

13 Sep. 2009 abroad


CAPE CANAVERAL – A spacecraft with four civilians on board is in the night from Wednesday to Thursday at 01. hours (Dutch time) launched as scheduled from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Less than 15 minutes later, the rocket was in orbit around the Earth. It is the first time that a rocket with only civilians on board has taken off to space.


The launch was scheduled between 02. hours and 05.000 hours (Dutch time), because the rocket is not on its way to the international space station ISS, a precise departure time was not necessary. To 02.01 hours the conditions were good and the rocket took off, a fireball lit up the sky in Cape Canaveral.

The craft reaches maximum 540 kilometers from Earth . The last time people went this far was in 2021. After a stay of about three days in space, the crew members return to Earth. The craft then plunges, suspended from a parachute, into the Atlantic Ocean.

The company behind the space journey, SpaceX from billionaire Elon Musk, wants such selling tourist flights to ordinary people who have a lot of money to spare for an otherworldly experience.

Tech billionaire

The captain on board is the 29 year old billionaire Jared Isaacman, who pays for the flight. He is the founder of payment service Shift4. He takes two people with ties to a children’s hospital in the city of Memphis. These are Physician Assistant Hayley Arceneaux (29) and donor Christopher Sembroski (38). The fourth crew member is Sian Proctor (43), a geology teacher who unsuccessfully tried to become an astronaut over ten years ago.

Musk is in a fierce competition with two other billionaires, Jeff Bezos (Amazon, Blue Origin) and Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic). They have also plunged into space tourism.

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