One of the coolest things about the Crew Dragon capsule used for the Inspiration4 mission that put an all civilian crew in orbit happened due to being able to remove the docking connector from the nose of the capsule. Typically, in the nose of a Crew Dragon capsule is the docking apparatus for connecting the capsule to the ISS. Since Inspiration4 isn’t docking with the ISS, that apparatus was removed, and in its place was put a cupola to give crewmembers an incredible view of space and Earth while in orbit.
Before launch, we saw plenty of images showing the cupola and hinting at the view crewmembers would see once in orbit. After a successful launch yesterday, Inspiration4 is now in orbit around the Earth. SpaceX recently tweeted a short 14-second video that appears to be from a camera mounted on the capsule’s exterior looking at the cupola and the blue marble of earth rotating beneath it.
It’s a breathtaking image, and certainly, crewmembers aboard the capsule will spend plenty of time enjoying that view while they are in orbit. We mentioned previously that the toilet facilities inside the capsule are placed in that cupola, making it the best bathroom view in the universe. Inspiration4 launched on September 15 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:02 PM EDT for those who missed it.
The capsule will orbit the Earth for the next three days and will splashdown off the coast of Florida when its mission is over. The entire crew is civilians meaning they have no formal astronaut training. SpaceX certainly spent time training the crew, and two crewmembers are licensed pilots. Dragon is orbiting at an altitude of 360 miles above the surface of the Earth.