Netflix has released the trailer (below) for Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, a five-part docuseries following SpaceX’s first all-civilian mission.
Directed by Emmy Award winner Jason Hehir (The Last Dance) and billed as “the first Netflix documentary series to cover an event in near real-time,” the shows will feature preparations and training for the mission, live coverage of the launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and footage from the Crew Dragon spacecraft — complete with its all-glass observation dome — as it orbits Earth with four passengers inside.
Here’s a list of the streaming dates and content for each show:
Monday, September 6: Meet the four civilians heading to space
Monday, September 13: Watch them prepare
Wednesday, September 15: Watch the live launch
Thursday September 30: Spend time with the crew in space
To set up the three-day mission, Shift4 Payments Jared Isaacman inked a private deal with SpaceX. Three other crew members — Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant who will become the first bone cancer survivor in space; Dr. Sian Proctor, who will become the fourth Black female American in space; and Christopher Sembroski, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who works for Lockheed Martin — were selected through various means, and will have all of their costs covered by Isaacman.
The Shift4 Payments boss says in the trailer that it’s important for the mission “to serve a bigger purpose,” in this case a $200 million fundraising campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Netflix’s interest in the groundbreaking SpaceX mission reflects a growing fascination with so-called “space tourism” services that promise to increase access to spaceflight, though in most cases you’ll need pots of money to make it happen.
Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are two companies planning to launch space tourism services in the next year or two following recent test flights that blasted their billionaire owners skyward. But the spaceflight experiences offered by these two companies are suborbital, last a matter of minutes, and only reach the Kármán line 62 miles up. SpaceX’s offering, meanwhile, is a far more ambitious undertaking that will use its tried-and-tested two-stage Falcon 9 rocket to send passengers into near-Earth orbit. It should be quite a show.
If you’re not signed up to Netflix but are interested in catching Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, this Digital Trends article breaks down the different streaming tiers currently available. And don’t forget, it’s possible to sign up for a single month (lowest price $9), binge watch lots of stuff, then leave (here’s how to cancel).