Elon Musk’s SpaceX announces world’s first all-civilian astronaut mission

Florida: SpaceX has announced that it would fly a crew of private citizens into orbit around the Earth, potentially by the end of the year, in a multiday mission designed to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The project is dubbed as ‘the world’s first all-civilian mission’.

It is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company’s spacecraft would be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, who is also a trained pilot. The mission, known as Inspiration4, seeks to raise support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, is donating the three seats alongside him aboard Dragon to individuals from the general public who will be announced in the weeks ahead,” the statement read.

“The Inspiration4 crew will receive commercial astronaut training by SpaceX 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,” it added.

SpaceX said that the flight “will be carefully monitored at every step by SpaceX mission control” and will end in a splashdown off the Florida coast.

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

The occupant of the fourth seat will be determined by a competition starting this month among users of Isaacson’s platform. The company plans to air an ad during Sunday’s Super Bowl to raise awareness about the mission and the opportunity to fly on it.

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