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New domed window to give SpaceX Dragon astronauts knockout view of Earth

A Crew Dragon spacecraft is getting a fishbowl-like window for the private Inspiration4 mission of "everyday people."

Inspiration4 mission commander Jared Isaacman poses inside the Crew Dragon cupola window.

Inspiration4

Astronauts talk lovingly about seeing Earth from space for the first time and about how profoundly emotional the experience can be. A crew of "everyday people" astronauts set to launch on SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission later this month will get quite a visual treat thanks to a new viewing window.

The Inspiration4 mission isn't visiting the International Space Station, so it didn't need the docking mechanism on the nose cone that a NASA mission would require. That left room for a fishbowl-like viewing window called a cupola. 

The Inspiration4 Twitter account shared a look at what the new cupola looks like: "The crew visited the flight-hardware cupola in California before it was shipped to Florida for integration with Dragon Resilience."

Billionaire Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman is funding and commanding the mission, which also includes childhood cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, aerospace industry professional Chris Sembroski and geoscientist Sian Proctor. Inspiration4 is billed as "the world's first all-civilian mission to orbit."

SpaceX had previously shared a rendered view of what the dome window would look like on Crew Dragon. In March, SpaceX founder Elon Musk described it as "probably most 'in space' you could possibly feel by being in a glass dome."

This is what the viewing dome should look like on Dragon.

SpaceX

SpaceX is targeting Sept. 15 to launch the cupola-equipped Crew Dragon Resilience on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The journey is set to last three days. Inspiration4 has also been dedicated to raising funds for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  

The civilian mission will mark a new milestone in space tourism. Unlike the recent Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin billionaires-in-space events, Dragon is scheduled to carry its crew into orbit. They'll have quite a window on the world.

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