SpaceX Announces World’s First ‘All-Civilian’ Space Flight

SpaceX Announces World’s First ‘All-Civilian’ Space Flight

In a new chapter of commercial spaceflight, SpaceX plans to launch a crew of only private astronauts into orbit - the world's first such mission.

Shift4 Payments CEO and founder Jared Isaacman, the first named member of SpaceX's first all-civilian human launch.

Isaacman would not divulge how much he's paying SpaceX, except to say that the anticipated donation to St. Jude "vastly exceeds the cost of the mission". The other seat will be given to a member of the public who enters a raffle online. While he actually began Shift4 Payments when he was just 16, which now processes over $200 billion per year in transactions, Isaacman also created and led a private air force, which he later sold to Blackstone, the large global private military contractor.

SpaceX has already sent two crewed missions into space, but in the past, they were always accompanied by NASA astronauts - once with an astronaut from Japan's space agency - aboard government-funded trips to the International Space Station (ISS).

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime adventure: a journey into outer space on the first all-civilian space flight", according to a website dedicated to the mission.

The crew will undergo astronaut training conducted by SpaceX, and the launch is now scheduled for "no earlier than the fourth quarter of this year", according to a statement on SpaceX's website. SpaceX is designing and test-launching prototypes of that future system at its facilities in Boca Chica, Texas.

Isaacman's flight will also help pay for Starship development, Musk told reporters Monday. Musk's ultimate plan is to build 1,000 Starships, use them to fly people and cargo to Mars, and build an independent, self-sustaining city there.

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There's a lot of training that goes into it. "It has to be 100% commitment from myself to keep doing it". I don't think he's coming back.

"This is an important milestone toward enabling access to space for everyone", Musk said during a press conference Monday from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. "Things necessarily start off real expensive because it's new technology at low volume, low production rate, so we actually need people who are willing and able to pay the high prices initially to make it affordable long term for everyone". The three other spots on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft are still up for grabs, through Isaacman, who is donating the seats to the general public, has some ideas in mind.

Isaacman said it will involve "some experiments" for research institutions like St. Jude, but he declined to elaborate.

"I intend to get four people in a tent that I can attest is absolutely smaller than the Dragon spacecraft, on a mountain when it's snowing out, and introduce everybody to some really stressful situations", Isaacman said.

The mission will launch from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will be carefully monitored at every step by SpaceX mission control as the spacecraft orbits the planet every 90 minutes along a customized flight path.

The full crew will be announced in the coming weeks, Isaacman has said, the Verge reported. He said he has experience traveling to remote destinations, recalling a trip to Mt. Vinson in Antarctica.

"I'll be on a flight one day, but not this one", he said.

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