SpaceX To Launch Nonprofessional Astronauts Into Orbit

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The first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket in February 2021 in California
The first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket in February 2021 in California

SpaceX looks to make history Wednesday with the launching of four civilians into orbit as the first crew of nonprofessional astronauts. Inspiration4 has a liftoff scheduled for 8:02 p.m. ET with a five-hour window from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX is providing live coverage of the launch on its official website. Weather conditions could delay the launch.

Elon Musk's company said that the mission is significant because it's "the highest that any humans have gone into orbit since the Hubble [Space Telescope] servicing missions" of 2009.

The three-day mission is sponsored by 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman, the CEO of Shift4 Payments, a Pennsylvania-based payment processing company. He is considered the commander of the flight and cited as an "accomplished pilot and adventurer." 

Isaacman will be accompanied by Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a pediatric cancer survivor. Also on board are Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer, and Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur, and trained pilot.

 

 

The crew has spent the last six months in special training, observations of other SpaceX launches, and medical testing.

The orbit will be longer than previous space trips by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. 

Inspiration4 is looking to raise $200 million in funds and awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Isaacman has raised $100 million and another $30 million has also been donated.

Also, the crew will be studying “the human body in space” by conducting “scientific research designed to advance human health on Earth and during future long-duration space flights," according to SpaceX.

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