The first all-civilian space crew, which will launch from Florida's coast this week, will have a late night.

After weeks of anticipation, SpaceX disclosed the liftoff window for the Inspiration4 mission on Sunday. The four civilian astronauts will be launched on a Falcon 9 rocket during a five-hour launch window that begins at 8:02 p.m. on Wednesday.

"Approximately three days before liftoff, SpaceX will narrow down the launch window to five hours based upon weather conditions at the launch site, along the ascent corridor, and at landing locations off the coasts of Florida for a safe return of the crew and splashdown a few days later," a mission update stated.

The crew will orbit Earth for three days after taking off from Kennedy Space Center through SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Click Orlando said SpaceX moved the rocket and payload to launchpad 39A on Sunday. On Sunday night, SpaceX and the Inspiration4 crew performed a complete rehearsal of launch day operations. According to the firm, the rocket's nine Merlin engines will be tested overnight until Monday morning.

Tesmanian, citing the 45th Weather Squadron of the United States Space Force, said the current launch window has a 70 percent likelihood of good liftoff conditions. Cloud cover and rain will be the main worries Wednesday night.

If the launch is canceled on Wednesday, a backup window will open at 8:05 p.m. on Thursday. Space Force weather experts say Thursday's chances increase significantly, with an 80 percent likelihood of good liftoff weather.

Who Will Join the Inspiration4 Mission?

Jared Isaacman, a wealthy businessman, chartered Elon Musk's private space firm to launch the Inspiration4 mission. Other members who will join Isaacman are:

  • Chris Sembroski, an aerospace engineer;
  • Dr. Sian Proctor, a college geology professor; and
  • Hayley Arcenauex, a physician at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Proctor and Sembroski had a different route to space than Arcenauex, who was picked by her workplace when Isaacman approached the research hospital about a fundraising attempt to generate $200 million for St. Jude. In February, Sembroski joined a raffle announced in a Super Bowl ad. Proctor utilized Isaacman's Shift4Payment platform to earn money for St. Jude through her paintings and poems. After that, a team of judges chose her for the mission.

(Photo: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
The recovered first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket stands at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) on February 2, 2021, in Hawthorne, California. - Inspiration4 mission commander Jared Isaacman, founder and chief executive officer of Shift4 Payments all-civilian Inspiration4 mission, will raise $200 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital through donation-based sweepstakes to select a member of the crew.

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The crew landed in style at Florida's Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center by fighter aircraft.

Before splashing down off the coast of Florida, the crew will spend three days circling Earth, documenting their experience, and doing low-gravity science.

Space Race

Reuters said SpaceX is by far the most well-known entity in the expanding constellation of private rocket companies, having already sent many cargo payloads and people to the International Space Station on behalf of NASA.

Rival firms Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin recently celebrated the launch of their first astro-tourism trips, with billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, respectively, accompanying them.

The SpaceX mission is planned to take its four passengers into Earth orbit, where no all-civilian crew has gone before.

They'll travel at more than 27,360 kph (17,000 mph), or approximately 22 times the speed of sound, once every 90 minutes. The intended height is 360 miles (575 kilometers) above the International Space Station's and Hubble Space Telescope's orbits.

The 20-story-tall SpaceX launch vehicle and crew capsule will take off vertically from a launch pad on a mission commanded entirely from the ground, similar to Blue Origin's launch vehicle.

On the other hand, Branson's suborbital rocket plane was piloted by two highly experienced pilots as it flew its four rear-seat passengers 50 miles (81 kilometers) above the ground.

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