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Inspiration 4



Inspiration 4 is a fully commercial three-day spaceflight aboard a SpaceX crew capsule, riding to an altitude higher than any person has flown in two decades.

The Inspiration4 mission includes a wealthy entrepreneur with a penchant for aerobatic flying, a science educator with a lifelong ambition to fly in space, a physician assistant who survived childhood cancer, and an Air Force veteran turned data engineer.

A Falcon 9 rocket lit up Florida’s Space Coast with a roaring liftoff from pad 39A at Kennedy at 8:02:56 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0002:56 GMT Thursday). The launch kicked off SpaceX’s fourth-ever crew mission to low Earth orbit, but the first without any NASA astronauts on-board.

Within about a minute, the 215-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 was traveling faster than the speed of sound, trailing a flickering orange flame as nine kerosene-fueled Merlin engines powered the launcher through a clear evening sky.

Two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s reusable first stage booster shut down and dropped away to descend to landing on a SpaceX recovery ship positioned downrange in the Atlantic Ocean. Moments later, the second stage’s single engine ignited to send the Crew Dragon capsule into orbit.

SpaceX, founded and led by Elon Musk, hailed the mission as a turning point in the history of spaceflight. The Inspiration4 mission follows suborbital commercial launches space in July by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, space companies established by billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos.

Alternate Names

  • 49220
  • Inspiration4

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2021-09-16
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Full Thrust
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) (United States)


  • Human Crew

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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