SpaceX to fly first all-civilian crew to space

Highlights :
  • SpaceX will launch four private individuals into orbit around the Earth later this year
  • Spacecraft will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments
  • The mission, known as Inspiration4, seeks to raise support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has announced the launch of its very first all civilian mission to space.

SpaceX is planning Falcon 9’s launch of Inspiration4, the world’s first all-commercial astronaut mission to orbit no earlier than the fourth quarter of this year, it said.

Spacecraft will be launched from the Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, who is founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and a trained pilot. He has also announced that he is donating the three seats alongside him aboard Dragon to individuals from the general public, who will be announced in the weeks ahead.

This is in recognition of the “four-person crew’s mission to inspire support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and send a humanitarian message of possibility,” hence they have named this mission Inspiration4.

Isaacman has given St. Jude two seats on the mission. The first seat will be reserved for a St. Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission.

The full crew will be announced in the coming weeks, Isaacman has said, the Verge reported.

He has committed to giving $100 million to St. Jude and is inviting everyone to join him in attempting to raise upwards of $200 million in support of “St. Jude’s multi-billion dollar expansion aimed to accelerate research advancements and save more children worldwide,” as per the official release.
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“Inspiration4 is the realisation of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars. I appreciate the tremendous responsibility that comes with commanding this mission and I want to use this historic moment to inspire humanity while helping to tackle childhood cancer here on Earth,” Isaacman said.

According to the Musk, the mission will be an important milestone to make Space accessible to everyone and to “bring the cost down over time and make space accessible to all,” the Verge reported.

SpaceX will provide commercial astronaut training to the Inspiration4 crew on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing.

“They will go through emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations,” SpaceX said.

The crew member who will be selected must be “physically and psychologically fit for training,” as per the rules. They must be under 6 feet and 6 inches tall and weigh less than 250 pounds.

In case the mission is postponed beyond 2022, crew members will each get an “alternate prize” of $150,000, as per the fine print, the Verge reported.

“This multi-day journey, orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a customized flight path, will be carefully monitored at every step by SpaceX mission control. Upon conclusion of the mission, Dragon will reenter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida,” SpaceX said.

Shashank Tiwari

Shashank Tiwari is a writer from India and the Tech Explained editor. In his free time he dabbles in fiction, photography, and game development.

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