Blast Off and Splashdown on a Private Space Mission in a SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule

May 3, 2024 | by

In 1999, astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) hopped an experimental spacecraft to low-Earth orbit and accidentally ended up on the other side of the galaxy in Farscape (now streaming on Peacock). Now, you can follow in his spacefaring footsteps (minus the transgalactic trip) on a real-world private flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.

In 2020, SpaceX became the first commercial company to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The achievement returned crewed launch capability to the United States, something the U.S. hadn’t had since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011. At present, the Crew Dragon capsule is the primary way people get from Cape Canaveral to the space station.

In the years since that first crewed launch, Crew Dragon has conducted seven crew rotations of the ISS, the most recent of which ended with the successful return of SpaceX Crew-7 on March 12. Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa spent 199 days working aboard the station before arriving at the Dragon splashdown location off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, at 5:47 Eastern time.

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In the early hours of May 2, the ISS astronauts took Crew Dragon on an incredibly short trip to space, undocking from the Harmony module’s forward port and docking elsewhere. The maneuver was carried out successfully, making room for the upcoming launch of Boeing’s Starliner, which will carry astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the space station for a week-long shakedown of SpaceX’s as-yet-uncertified competition.

Despite being a relative newcomer to the aerospace scene, SpaceX got off the ground quickly, figuratively and literally, and now you can take advantage of the same technologies that NASA uses to carry yourself to the stars. For a price.

Go to Space and Back in a SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule

SpaceX has opened bookings for private missions to space. If you’ve got plenty of spare cash and the gumption, you and your closest friends (they better be close if you’re going to live in a tin can with them) can choose between four destinations on two spaceships.

The closest and most accessible, at least physically speaking, is low-Earth orbit. Voyagers will travel to altitudes of 185 – 300 miles (300 to 500 kilometers), roughly the same height as the ISS. Missions can carry between two and four passengers on Crew Dragon on trips that last between three and six days. During your flight, you’ll circle the planet every 90 minutes and have unfettered views of the Earth from the ship’s 46-inch cupola.

If you want the complete astronaut experience, you might consider the second destination: the International Space Station. SpaceX offers 10-day missions for up to four passengers to the ISS. You’ll dock to the station, deboard, and live inside the world’s largest spacecraft and orbital science laboratory, just like NASA astronauts. Either of those trips would be a defining moment in a person’s life, but they are doable. The last two destinations are a little more ambitious and a lot less likely to blast off anytime soon.

According to the SpaceX website, you can also book missions to the Moon and Mars, riding aboard the company’s Starship spacecraft. It’s worth noting that Starship is making progress but has yet to get to space and back in one piece. A trip to the Moon would take seven days and carry up to 12 passengers. Fortunately, you’ll enjoy private quarters on your quarter-million-mile trip to the Moon. Details on Mars missions are sparse but available.

Want even more adventures in space? Catch Farscape, streaming now on Peacock!


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