Inspiration4: All-amateur space crew enjoy views of Earth

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CrewImage source, INSPIRATION4
Image caption,
(L-R) Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski come home at the weekend

The first pictures have been released showing the Inspiration4 crew high above the Earth.

The four private fliers are pictured floating around inside their space capsule and looking out the vehicle's big domed window at the planet below.

Billionaire Jared Isaacman and his colleagues Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski launched from Florida on Wednesday.

They're the first all-amateur crew to go into orbit on a commercial mission.

Their trip was purchased from, and is organised by, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket company.

Image source, INSPIRATION4
Image caption,
The crew have gone much higher than the International Space Station
Image source, INSPIRATION4
Image caption,
Jared Isaacman purchased the trip from SpaceX

The California-based firm used one of its Dragon ships to lift the foursome to an altitude as high as 590km. That's about 160km further than the International Space Station, and 50km higher even than the famous Hubble Space Telescope.

Not much information has been released since launch about the activities of the crew, who are the subject of an exclusive Netflix documentary.

It's known that they are well, having adjusted to their weightless environment, and have been conducting some scientific experiments.

Image source, INSPIRATION4
Image caption,
Chris Sembroski is pictured in the dome taking pictures

It's also known that they have been in conversation with family and friends on Earth, and have conducted a Q&A with patients at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ms Arceneaux is a physician assistant (known as a physician associate in the UK) at the hospital, having also been treated there as a 10 year-old for bone cancer.

Mr Isaacman hopes the interest around the Inspiration4 flight can help raise $200m for St Jude.

The crew are due back on Earth at the weekend. Their capsule will bring them to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

It will have been another milestone in the space tourism market, which is experiencing a resurgence after a decade's hiatus.

Earlier this summer, billionaire businessmen Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos went above Earth's atmosphere in their own space vehicles.

The coming months will see similar trips.

Image source, SPACEX
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Artwork: A glass dome has been fitted to the Dragon capsule
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Watch: Four 'amateur astronauts' launched into orbit by SpaceX