SpaceX to fly first civilian crew to space later this year

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In what is slated to be the world’s first all-civilian space mission, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has announced that it will launch four civilians into orbit around the Earth. Scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2021, the mission will launch the individuals on a Crew Dragon capsule.

This four-member mission is called Inspiration4 and will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a payment processing firm. Isaacman has also purchased three additional seats aboard the mission and the mission is primarily being funded by him.

The mission is seeking to raise donations to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Isaacman has donated to St. Jude two of the seats on the mission, with one “reserved for a St. Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission.” The third and fourth crew seats, however, will be decided on the basis of online competitions that run from 1st February to 28th February that have been listed on the Inspiration4 website.

The third seat is open to those who donate to St. Jude, while the fourth is open to a contest that is open to new and existing customers of Isaacman’s Shift4Shop eCommerce platform. To enter the contest, competitors have to launch an online store on the platform and make a video about their entrepreneurial story. This will be adjudicated by a group of judges, who will pick the best one as the winner of the contest.

“Inspiration4 is the realization 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 in a statement.

All the selected crew on the mission will undergo training held by SpaceX. The mission will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida towards the fourth quarter of this year. It will use a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon spacecraft.

Doesn’t this open up a new phase in space exploration? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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