SpaceX announces first “civilian mission” in space

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SpaceX will offer a first “fully civilian” space mission this year. The spaceship will be piloted by billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman. The latter will also donate the other three available seats, and will donate several million dollars for the fight against cancer.

Billionaire Jared Isaacman – founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments – will travel this year with SpaceX, which last year became the first private company to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. The 37-year-old entrepreneur, who is also an accomplished pilot, will command this four-person mission called “Inspiration4” aboard a Crew Dragon capsule. Take-off is scheduled for the end of the year.

Millions for sick children

Note that there will be no professional astronauts on board. Isaacman will donate the other three seats available at St. Jude Hospital in Memphis (USA). This hospital, considered a leading institution in the fight against cancer and other diseases, treat children for free.

The hospital has already allocated one of the available seats to one of its employees. A second seat will be awarded to a member of the public via a fundraising raffle that Isaacman said could raise at least $ 200 million for the hospital. Note that you don’t necessarily have to donate money to participate in this raffle.

In addition, the billionaire himself pledged to donate $ 100 million of his personal fortune to the structure. For more information, visit the Inspiration4 website.

This site also contains information for anyone interested in competing for the last seat. This will be awarded to “A deserving entrepreneur using the new Shift4Shop e-commerce platform”, according to the press release. This person will be chosen through a competition that will run until February 28.

“Inspiration4 is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture and explore the stars”, said Isaacman. “I appreciate the enormous responsibility that comes with commanding this mission, and I want to use this historic moment to inspire humanity while helping to fight childhood cancer here on Earth.”.

Jared Isaacman. Credit: SpaceX

A few days around the Earth

For this mission, SpaceX will use its “Resilience” capsule, currently docked to the ISS as part of the Crew-1 mission. However, there will be no question of joining the station. The spacecraft will take off on top of a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will spend approximately two to four days circling the Earth, then descend to land at sea.

“This will be the very first private crewed orbital mission in history”Elon Musk said in a teleconference on Monday, adding that the revenue from Inspiration4 will also help SpaceX develop Starship, its new interplanetary spacecraft currently in testing.

Finally, remember that SpaceX has also reached an agreement with the company Axiom Space to send four people to the ISS aboard a Crew Dragon capsule this year. The crew will stay on board the station for about eight days before returning to land at sea off Cape Canaveral (Florida).





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