Skip to main content

Relive SpaceX's historic Inspiration4 launch with these amazing photos

SpaceX's all-private Inspiration4 mission lifted off successfully on Sept. 15, 2021.
SpaceX's all-private Inspiration4 mission lifted off successfully on Sept. 15, 2021. (Image credit: Inspiration4/John Kraus)

There's nothing quite like a night launch — and this one was extra-special.

SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission launched Wednesday night (Sept. 15) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending an all-private crew into Earth orbit for the first time ever.

Inspiration4's Crew Dragon capsule, named Resilience, is carrying four non-professional astronauts: billionaire Jared Isaacman, who paid for the flight, and Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski. The quartet will circle our planet until Saturday (Sept. 18), when they'll come back down for an ocean splashdown.

If the Inspiration4 launch isn't already sufficiently seared into your brain, scroll through the gallery below, which features stunning photos of the liftoff from a variety of angles.

Live updates: SpaceX's Inspiration4 private all-civilian orbital mission
Video: Watch SpaceX launch the Inspiration4 civilian space mission

Image 1 of 12

The four Inspiration4 crewmembers shortly before boarding their Crew Dragon capsule, a vehicle named Resilience.

The four Inspiration4 crewmembers shortly before boarding their Crew Dragon capsule, a vehicle named Resilience. (Image credit: Inspiration4/John Kraus)

 The four Inspiration4 crewmembers shortly before boarding their Crew Dragon capsule, a vehicle named Resilience.

Image 2 of 12

(Image credit: John Kraus/Inspiration4)

Resilience and its Falcon 9 rocket on the pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida shortly before liftoff on Sept. 15, 2021.

Image 3 of 12

Inspiration4 lifted off successfully on Sept. 15.

(Image credit: Inspiration4/John Kraus)

Liftoff! SpaceX's historic Inspiration4 mission takes flight. 

Image 4 of 12

Another shot of Inspiration4's Falcon 9 rocket rising off the pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Another shot of Inspiration4's Falcon 9 rocket rising off the pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Image credit: SpaceX via Twitter)

Another shot of Inspiration4 and its Falcon 9 rocket rising off the pad.

Image 5 of 12

Rocket launches are turbulent, power-packed affairs.

Rocket launches are turbulent, power-packed affairs. (Image credit: SpaceX via Twitter)

Rocket launches are turbulent, power-packed affairs.

Image 6 of 12

A closeup of the nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9's first stage doing their thing.

A closeup of the nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9's first stage doing their thing. (Image credit: SpaceX via Twitter)

A closeup of the nine Merlin engines on the Falcon 9's first stage doing their thing.

Image 7 of 12

Inspiration4's Falcon 9 clears the tower.

Inspiration4's Falcon 9 clears the tower. (Image credit: Inspiration4/John Kraus)

Inspiration4's Falcon 9 clears the tower.

Image 8 of 12

(Image credit: John Kraus/Inspiration4)

This long-exposure shot shows the path Inspiration4's Falcon 9 rocket took off the launch pad on Sept. 15, 2021.

Image 9 of 12

Another pillar-of-light shot of the Inspiration4 launch.

(Image credit: SpaceX via Twitter)

Another pillar-of-light shot of the Inspiration4 launch.

Image 10 of 12

he plume of fumes generated by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying four civilian astronauts of the Inspiration4 mission on their historic orbital trip.

(Image credit: John Kraus)

The separation of the Falcon 9's two stages generated this gorgeous "nebula" in the Florida skies.

Image 11 of 12

"Jude," the Inspiration4 crew's zero-g indicator, floats at the end of a tether after entering Earth orbit on Sept. 15, 2021.

(Image credit: SpaceX)

Inspiration4 reaches space! This photo, taken inside the mission's Crew Dragon capsule, shows its zero-g indicator — a plush golden retriever, honoring the helper dogs at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital — floating freely.

Image 12 of 12

The crewmembers of SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission will likely spend a lot of time gazing at Earth from their Crew Dragon capsule's big cupola window.

(Image credit: SpaceX via Twitter)

Inspiration4 is orbiting Earth at an altitude of about 364 miles (585 kilometers). Here's the view the crewmembers now have, which they're doubtless taking full advantage of thanks to Resilience's specially installed cupola window.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or 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: community@space.com.

Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.