SpaceX Inspiration4 mission delivers first magical images from orbit

"The crew of #Inspiration4 had an incredible first day in space!"

Jackson Ryan Former Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Jackson Ryan
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Hayley Arceneaux, medical specialist on the Inspiration4 mission, in the Crew Dragon cupola against a backdrop of the Earth

Hayley Arceneaux, medical specialist on the Inspiration4 mission, in the Crew Dragon cupola.


The crew of the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, which left Earth on Wednesday, has now spent a full day in space, sleeping, eating and even betting on sports matches. But besides a teaser video of the transparent cupola outfitted on the Crew Dragon's nose, we haven't seen too much from inside the cramped confines of their temporary orbital home

Thankfully, images from the crew's first day in orbit have arrived to give us a glimpse of life in the Dragon.

The images, posted to the Inspiration4 Twitter account on Thursday evening, show the crew members enoying the cupola, with mission specialist Chris Sembroski keenly focusing his camera from within the curved window and medical officer Hayley Arceneaux seemingly floating upward toward the Earth. 

Not sure how these photos are free of happy tears, to be honest. I feel like I would be bawling my eyes out floating around in the cupola.  

The mission, the first to feature a crew composed entirely of private citizens, was bankrolled by billionaire businessman Jared Isaacman, also features Sian Proctor, a geology professor and the fourth African American woman in space, who serves as the mission pilot.

The Crew Dragon orbits the Earth at an altitude of around 364 miles (585 kilometers), which is the furthest humans have traveled since the STS-103 flight of the Space Shuttle in 1999. The team will be exposed to higher levels of radiation than the astronauts stationed in the International Space Station or China's Tiangong space station and their health is being constantly monitored so scientists and researchers can learn more about the effects of spaceflight on "ordinary" humans (rather than those superhuman astronauts).

You can expect to see plenty more from "ordinary citizens" in the future, too. In January 2022, SpaceX plans to send four people to the International Space Station in collaboration with Axiom Space, and Tom Cruise is scheduled to fly to the station for a movie project some time next year.