Science | September 6, 2021 6:00 am

Inspiration4’s Crew Will Have a Panoramic View From Orbit

Behold the magnificently-named Dragon's Cupola

Dragon's Cupola
A preview of Dragon's Cupola in action.

Space travel is set to hit a new milestone later this month via the Inspiration4 mission. It’s set to be the first fully commercial mission into space, headed by Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman and utilizing SpaceX’s Dragon to get there. (There’s a Netflix series documenting the whole thing as well.) What can the four people on board expect from their journey? Well, there’s one thing that can be said for sure: once they get into orbit, they’re going to have a spectacular view.

Writing at, Tariq Malik has more details on Dragon’s Cupola, the piece of hardware that will allow the astronauts to get a view of Earth and the cosmos. Since the spacecraft won’t be docking with the International Space Station, the viewport will replace the docking port.

According to a statement from Inspiration4, the mission is set to launch on September 15 from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Mission Commander Jared Isaacman, Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux and Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski will arrive in Florida six days beforehand.

The mission is designed to raise support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as well as to — as per a statement — “send a humanitarian message of possibility while representing a new era for human spaceflight and exploration.” What that looks like in practice will be more clear later this month.