PHOTOS: Historic Inspiration4 launch creates breathtaking light show in the sky

Launch marked SpaceX’s first private flight

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – At 8:02 p.m. on Wednesday, the Inspiration4 mission made history by launching a team of amateur astronauts into orbit from Central Florida’s Space Coast.

The launch marked SpaceX’s first private flight. The crew consisted of two contest winners, a health care worker and their rich sponsor who made the ambitious leap in space tourism possible.

The Dragon capsule’s two men and two women are looking to spend three days circling the world from an unusually high orbit — 100 miles (160 kilometers) higher than the International Space Station — before splashing down off the Florida coast this weekend.

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Leading the flight is Jared Isaacman, 38, who made his fortune with a payment-processing company he started in his teens.

Joining Isaacman on the trip dubbed Inspiration4 is Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a childhood cancer survivor who works as a physician assistant where she was treated — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Isaacman has pledged $100 million out of his own pocket to the hospital and is seeking another $100 million in donations.

Also along for the ride: sweepstakes winners Chris Sembroski, 42, a data engineer in Everett, Washington, and Sian Proctor, 51, a community college educator in Tempe, Arizona.

The historic launch created an amazing view for people all across Central Florida as the rocket streaked across the sky leaving glowing vapor from its thrusters in its wake.

Below you will find some of the best shots from our area. If you have a picture you want to share with News 6, just click here.


Inspiration4 launch (Emilee Speck)
Inspiration4 launch as seen from Oviedo (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)
Inspiration4 launch as seen from Ponce Inlet (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)
Inspiration4 launch as seen from Ponce Inlet (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)
Inspiration4 launch as seen from Ponce Inlet (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)
The plume of a Falcon 9 rocket after the Inspiration4 launch from Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 15, 2021 (WKMG 2021)
Falcon 9 launch plume after the Inspiration4 liftoff on Sept. 15, 2021 taken by Patrick Norris at Bethune Beach. (WKMG 2021)

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.