Tom Cruise got a glimpse of what it’s like to circle the earth in a SpaceX capsule.
Representatives of SpaceX’s first private charter flight revealed on Friday that the actor participated in a call with the four space tourists orbiting more than 360 miles. Thursday’s conversation, like the entire three-day flight, was private, so no details were released.
“Maverick, you can be our winger at any time,” the flight’s Twitter announcement announced. Cruise played the role of Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 movie “Top Gun”. A sequel is coming out next year.
Last year, NASA confirmed it was in talks with Cruise about visiting the International Space Station for the shoot. SpaceX would provide the elevator, as it does for the NASA astronauts, and as it did on Wednesday night for the billionaire up there now with its two competition winners and a hospital employee.
Their flight is due to end on Saturday night with a water landing in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida.
The four showed off their capsule on a live broadcast on Friday. They fly extremely high in the automated capsule, even by NASA standards.
SpaceX put them in a 363 mile (585 kilometer) orbit after Wednesday night’s launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It is 100 miles (160 kilometers) higher than the International Space Station. It’s so high that they make 15 orbits around the Earth every day, compared to 16 for the station’s astronauts.
Until this fully amateur crew, relatively few NASA astronauts had climbed this high. The most recent were the Shuttle astronauts who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope on several flights in the 1990s and 2000s.
To improve views, SpaceX outfitted the Dragon capsule with a custom bubble-shaped dome. Pictures of them looking out that large window were posted online, otherwise nothing else had been made public on their first day in space.
In addition to talking about space with Cruise, the four capsule passengers chatted with young cancer patients on Thursday. Hayley Arceneaux, a childhood cancer survivor, led the conversation from orbit with patients at the hospital that saved her life almost 20 years ago: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A 6 year old boy wanted to know if there were cows on the moon, like in the nursery rhyme.
“I hope there will be a day. At the moment, no, there isn’t, ”replied another passenger, Sian Proctor. “We’re going to be returning to the moon soon and we’re going to investigate all kinds of things about it.” “
The video link was not broadcast live, but shared by St. Jude Friday. Seeing the Earth from so high is “so beautiful,” Arceneaux told them.
Now a physician assistant at St. Jude, Arceneaux is the youngest American in space at 29.
Pennsylvania entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, 38, purchased the entire flight for an undisclosed amount. He’s looking to raise $ 200 million for St. Jude through the theft he named Inspiration4, half of which came from his own pocket.
The other two Dragon runners won their spots through a pair of contests sponsored by Isaacman: Chris Sembroski, 42, a data engineer, and Proctor, 51, a community college educator.
On the Friday afternoon show, Sembroski performed a ukulele which will be auctioned off for St. Jude. “You can turn down the volume if you want, but I’ll try,” he said.
Proctor, who is an artist, showed a drawing in her sketchbook of a Dragon capsule carried by a mythological dragon far from Earth.
All four share SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s quest to open up space to everyone.
“Missions like Inspiration4 help advance spaceflight to allow anyone to go into orbit and beyond,” Musk tweeted Thursday after speaking with his orbit pioneers.
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