SpaceX announces charity-focused ‘all-civilian’ mission to space

A SpaceX rocket and spacecraft will be used to send an “all-civilian” crew to space at the end of 2021. Scheduled to launch in October…

[Feb. 1, 2021: Maggie Tillman]

A SpaceX rocket and spacecraft will be used to send an “all-civilian” crew to space at the end of 2021.

Scheduled to launch in October, the mission will be commanded by billionaire Jared Isaacman. He is a trained pilot and the chief executive of Shift4 Payments, which sells credit card processing terminals and point-of-sale systems. Three people will ride alongside Isaacman and orbit aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. The seats will go “to individuals from the general public" who will be announced in the coming weeks, SpaceX said in a statement.

Two of the seats will go to persons affiliated with St Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Specifically, one of those seats will go to a health care worker. “Actually a former cancer survivor, who was treated at St Jude and has come back and is an employee there”, Isaacman told The New York Times.

The third seat will be raffled off at random, with the hope of raising at least $200 million for St Jude. A donation is not required to enter for a chance twin the trip to space, but each dollar donated counts as 10 entries (up to 10,000 entries). Only US citizens and legal permanent residents who are 18 or older can enter the raffle. And you must be under 6 feet, 6 inches in height and weigh less than 250 pounds. You'll have to pass psychological and physical tests, as well.

Ideally, the three people chosen will “represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity", according to a press release.

The mission, named Inspiration4, will launch from SpaceX’s 39A launch site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will use SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, and the crew will receive training from SpaceX on "orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing".

The four-person crew will spend up to five days in the Crew Dragon capsule as it orbits Earth every 90 minutes “along a customised flight path".

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Tags: #Good_News, #SpaceX, #Astronauts, #Space, #The_Brighter_Side_of_News

Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.