The first all-civilian mission to orbit our planet is set to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket during a launch window that opens on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
Unlike the super-short flights to the edge of space by Richard Branson in Virgin Galactic’s supersonic jet plane and Jeff Bezos in a Blue Origin capsule, the Inspiration4 mission will send four people into orbit for three days in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule called Resilience.
The mission will launch four astronauts—Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Dr. Sian Proctor and Christopher Sembroski—to “proper” orbital space on top of a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The mission is a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
They will become the first orbital space tourists since Guy LaLiberté, the founder of Cirque du Soleil, visited the International Space Station (ISS) in 2009.
Inspiration4 will also be the first crewed orbital mission not to dock with the ISS since the Space Shuttle’s final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, also in 2009.
They will splashdown in at Atlantic Ocean three days after launch.
When will Inspiration4 launch?
The Inspiration4 mission is due to launch at 8:02 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
However, that time is the beginning of a five-hour launch window, so it could be anytime within that timeframe. Weather conditions are rated as 70% favorable.
A backup window is available opening at 8:05 p.m. EDT on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
Where and when to livestream the Inspiration4 launch
If you want to watch live as Dragon’s first all-civilian human spaceflight launches, head over to the official YouTube channel of SpaceX for a livestream of the event.
Where to watch the Inspiration4 mission documentary
Four episodes of the Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space documentary are now showing on Netflix, with the next episode expected on September 30, 2021.
Who is on the Inspiration4 mission?
The crew of four—none of whom have any previous spaceflight experience but have been training since March—comprises:
Jared Isaacman, 38, will become the the third billionaire in space in 2021. The founder of a company called Shift4 Payments, he’s the commander of the mission and the purchaser of it. He’s an experienced aircraft pilot.
Chris Sembroski, 42, an aerospace industry professional at Lockheed Martin, data engineer and Air Force Iraq veteran.
Dr. Sian Proctor, 51, a geoscientist, geology professor and science communicator.
What will the Inspiration4 mission do?
It’s fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, so the flight includes a bunch of novelty items that are being sent to space for commercial reasons, in return for huge donations (such as hops to make “space beer”).
The astronauts will also conduct science experiments while in orbit as well as be able to look through a special “cupola” window installed in the Crew Dragon capsule.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
900-year-old Chinese supernova mystery points to strange nebula – Space.com
In the year 1181 AD, a new bright point of light as luminous as the planet Saturn appeared to Chinese and Japanese skygazers for a little more than six months before disappearing. Hundreds of years later, researchers believe they have finally found the source of this mysterious appearance.
The event, like the famous Crab Nebula-forming stellar explosion of 1054, is one of just a handful of bright nearby flashes noted in historical records, but unlike the Crab Nebula, the 1181 spectacle was tricky to pin down.
The historical record leaves a few clues that have been useful to modern astronomers. First, the timing: this “guest star” shined for 185 days, from Aug. 6, 1181, to Feb. 6, 1182. The record also indicates its place in the sky, which was a spot located between two Chinese constellations, Chuanshe and Huagai, near the modern Cassiopeia.
These cosmic puzzle pieces led a research team to the ancient flash’s likely culprit: a supernova whose remnants now form a fast-expanding nebula called Pa30. The nebula’s clouds move so quickly that, in the new research, scientists from Hong Kong, the U.K., Spain, Hungary and France found that Pa30’s dust and gas could travel the distance from Earth to the moon in a whopping five minutes. By using that speed and calculating backward, the researchers determined that the nebula would fit a supernova that exploded around 1181.
The team found that Pa30 formed from a rare and relatively faint type of supernova, called a ‘Type Iax supernova.’ “Only around 10% of supernovae are of this type and they are not well understood. The fact that SN1181 was faint but faded very slowly fits this type,” Albert Zijlstra, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester in the U.K., said in a statement about the new research.
Scientists also found that Parker’s star, one of the hottest stars in the Milky Way, is also a likely counterpart to the supernova. The nebula and the star are thought to be the result of a massive collision and subsequent merger of two dim stellar corpses known as white dwarfs.
“This is the only Type Iax supernova where detailed studies of the remnant star and nebula are possible,” Ziljlstra added. “It is nice to be able to solve both a historical and an astronomical mystery.”
The study was published on Wednesday (Sept. 15) in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Follow Doris Elin Urrutia on Twitter @salazar_elin. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
SpaceX's tourist crew 'healthy, happy and resting' – Phys.org
SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 crew are “healthy, happy and resting comfortably,” the company said Thursday in its first update since the pioneering mission blasted off from Cape Canaveral the night before.
The four American space tourists “traveled 5.5 times around Earth, completed their first round of scientific research, and enjoyed a couple of meals” before going to bed, Elon Musk’s company said.
Musk tweeted that he had personally spoken with the crew and “all is well.”
After waking up, they will get their first look out of the Dragon ship’s cupola—a large observation dome that has been fitted onto the vessel for the first time, in place of a docking mechanism.
Billionaire Jared Isaacman, physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, geoscientist Sian Proctor and aerospace data engineer Chris Sembroski are orbiting the globe at an altitude that at times reaches 590 kilometers (367 miles).
That is deeper in space than the International Space Station, which orbits at 420 kilometers (260 miles), and the furthest any astronauts have ventured from our planet since a 2009 maintenance mission for the Hubble telescope.
The mission aims to raise $200 million for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and study the biological effects of deep space on the astronauts’ bodies.
The space adventure bookends a summer marked by the battle of the billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos to reach the final frontier.
But these flights only offered a few minutes of weightlessness—rather than the three full days of orbit the Inspiration4 crew will experience, before splashing down off the coast of Florida on Saturday.
© 2021 AFP
SpaceX’s tourist crew ‘healthy, happy and resting’ (2021, September 16)
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A 900-year-old cosmic mystery has been solved by astronomers – CTV News
The mystery behind the origins of a supernova first spotted by 12th-century Chinese and Japanese astronomers has been solved, according to an international team of 21st-century astronomers.
New research, published Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal, has linked astronomical reports from more than 800 years ago with a faint, fast-expanding nebula surrounding Parker’s Star, one of the hottest stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
The nebula, dubbed Pa30, fits the profile, location and age of the supernova, which was originally documented in 1181 AD.
“The historical reports place the guest star between two Chinese constellations, Chuanshe and Huagai,” Albert Zijlstra, astrophysics professor at the University of Manchester, said in a news release. “Parker’s Star fits the position well. That means both the age and location fit with the events of 1181.”
The first astronomers to lay eyes on the supernova, referred to as SN 1181, described it being as bright as the planet Saturn and remaining visible for six months, the authors of the study said.
Previous research has suggested Parker’s Star and the Pa30 nebula may be the result of the merging of two white dwarf stars. Such events are thought to lead to a rare and faint type of supernova called a “Type Iax” supernova.
“Only around 10 per cent of supernovae are of this type and they are not well understood. The fact that SN 1181 was faint but faded very slowly fits this type,” Zijlstra said. “It is the only such event where we can study both the remnant nebula and the merged star, and also have a description of the explosion itself.”
The key to unlocking the mystery of this historical supernova was the discovery that the Pa30 nebula is expanding at a velocity of more than 1,100 kilometres per second. From this, researchers were able to calculate the nebula’s age to be around 1,000 years old, which coincides with the events of 1181 AD.
“Combining all this information such as the age, location, event brightness and historically recorded 185-day duration, indicates that Parker’s Star and Pa30 are the counterparts of SN 1181,” Zijlstra said. “This is the only Type Iax supernova where detailed studies of the remnant star and nebula are possible.”
There have been five supernovae in the Milky Way in past millennium, and up until now, SN 1181 was the only one whose origins remained unknown.
“It is nice to be able to solve both a historical and an astronomical mystery,” Zijlstra said.
The team of astronomers who made the discovery hail from Hong Kong, the U.K., Spain, Hungary and France.
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