Watch SpaceX's Inspiration4 astronauts see Earth through their huge window for the 1st time (video)

A new video shows the Inspiration4 crew unveiling their incredible view of Earth, as seen through a domed window in their Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The 90-second video (which includes brief profanity, in case you're watching with kids) was published on the Inspiration4 YouTube channel Wednesday (Sept. 22) after being filmed by crewmember Sian Proctor during the mission, which landed safely back on Earth Saturday (Sept. 18).

The video shows crewmembers Chris Sembroski and Jared Isaacman (the billionaire who booked and commanded the SpaceX mission) slowly hefting the cover away from the dome as the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey" plays in the background. In the foreground, Hayley Arceneaux gets some equipment ready before gazing out the window in awe, along with the other crewmates.

Inspiration4: SpaceX's historic private spaceflight in photos

Earth as seen through the cupola window of SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle Resilience on the Inspiration4 mission.  (Image credit: Inspiration4/Sian Proctor)

Crew Dragon usually carries a docking port for International Space Station (ISS) activities. But with no need to visit the orbiting lab on this mission, Inspiration4 crewmembers elected to instead use a domed window, or cupola, to get a view of Earth from 367 miles (590 kilometers) up, higher than Crew Dragon had ever flown before. The ISS altitude is around 250 miles (400 km).

When SpaceX first showed off the cupola in March, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said the 360-degree view that it provided would be literally out of this world. (Crew Dragon has other windows that astronauts can use, but they are smaller and lie flat along the capsule's sides.) "Probably most 'in space' you could possibly feel by being in a glass dome," Musk wrote on Twitter in late March.

A major goal of the Inspiration4 mission was to raise $200 million and a lot of awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The crew even talked to a handful of St. Jue patients from space, including some treated by Arceneaux — a childhood cancer survivor who was treated at St. Jude and works as a physician assistant at the hospital today. 

Inspiration4 exceeded its fundraising goal by landing day, and the all-civilian crew has spoken frequently about the diversity of its crewmembers and how that helped them during the spaceflight.

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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: