Watch Netflix's 1st trailer for the Inspiration4 documentary on SpaceX's private spaceflight

Netflix's trailer for its upcoming documentary on SpaceX's private Inspiration4 spaceflight has landed to introduce the first all-civilian crew set to launch into orbit next month. 

The near real-time Netflix series "Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space" — which breaks new territory for the long-time streaming provider — will air across several episodes launching on Sept. 2. SpaceX will launch the four civilian astronauts into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft on Sept. 15.

The trailer, released Thursday (Aug. 19) on YouTube, shows the crew in training and promises that Inspiration4 will be the "next epic leap forward for civilians." The one-minute teaser focuses on aspects such as overcoming disability, fundraising money for charity, and dealing with worries from families about the inherent risk of climbing on a rocket.

Inspiration4 mission crew members (from left) Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski pose at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The privately chartered Inspiration4 plans to fly four people to space Sept. 15 aboard a SpaceX Dragon, orbiting Earth for three days. The crew includes billionaire and mission financier Jared Isaacman, childhood cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux (whom Isaacman invited), data engineer Chris Sembroski and Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, science communicator and artist. None of them are professional astronauts.

In the trailer, Netflix paid tribute to the two contests from which Sembroski and Proctor received their seats. One of Isaacman's major goals of the mission is to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital — also Arcenaux's workplace and the spot where she received her cancer treatments years ago.

Photos: See the Inspiration4 astronauts learn how to fly a SpaceX Dragon

Netflix plans five episodes, along with livestreaming the launch on Sept. 15 on its YouTube channel. Assuming the launch lifts off on schedule, Sept. 6 will see two episodes drop, focused on meeting the crew. The launch preparation will come into focus in two episodes airing Sept. 13. The last episode, sometime in late September, will feature the journey home.

The documentary series will be co-produced by Time Studios, and is directed by Jason Hehir — creator of the Michael Jordan series "The Last Dance."

While not hinted at in the trailer, Netflix also plans to release a "hybrid live-action animation special for kids and families" about the mission to air Sept. 14. It will discuss matters such as how rockets work, how astronauts sleep and eat in space and other mission basics, according to The Verge.

Inspiration4 crew experiences weightlessness during zero-g flight. (Image credit: Inspiration4/John Kraus)

Netflix's decision to focus on diversity in the Inspiration4 trailer comes in the wake of criticism about two other billionaire-funded space missions that ran in July. The crewed spaceflights were Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity (including founder Richard Branson) and Blue Origin's New Shepard (including founder Jeff Bezos).

Online commentators questioned aspects of the Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin missions including whether the billionaires were in competition (both denied it), the worth of spaceflights for rich people and their invitees, and what the missions mean for the space tourism market, which so far has been open to a select few.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.  

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: