CALIFORNIA: SpaceX made history tonight as it launched a crew of private citizens on a jaunt around Earth. For an added bonus, the rocket landed on its drone ship, marking the company’s 92nd booster recovery.
The mission, called Inspiration4, blasted off from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center here in Florida at 8:02 p.m. EDT (0002 GMT) — the start of a planned five-hour window. A four-person crew was strapped inside a Crew Dragon spacecraft which sat perched atop a slightly sooty 229-feet-tall (70 meters) Falcon 9 rocket.
“Few have come before, and many are about to follow,” Inspiration4 Cmdr. Jared Issacman said from inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft, referring to civilians in space. “The door is now open, and it’s pretty incredible.”
Ahead of the historic liftoff, forecasters at the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predicted an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions, and mother nature did not disappoint. The Falcon 9 lit up the sky, turning night into day and it climbed through the atmosphere on a pillar of flames and smoke. The rumble from its engines even set off car alarms at the viewing area.