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SpaceX Announces First All-Civilian Mission To Space, Launching from Kennedy Space Center

Jared Isaacman at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. Photo: SpaceX.
Jared Isaacman at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. Photo: SpaceX.

SpaceX announced plans for the first all-civilian mission to space, launching from the Kennedy Space Center on the company’s Crew Dragon capsule.

Jared Issacman, 37-year-old CEO of payment processing company Shift4 Payments, will command the first civil space mission, taking the capsule on a multi-day mission orbiting the Earth. Currently the mission is slated to last from two to four days in space.

He’s also donating three other seats on the mission. Two will go to St. Jude’s Children's hospital. One seat to a St. Jude ambassador, another will be raffled off for charity. The final seat will be decided via a competition sponsored by his company Shift4 payments, selecting an entrepreneur using the Shift4 platform.

Rhe St. Jude ambassador has already been selected. "I know she's looking forward to the launch as much as me," said Issacman. 

SpaceX is targeting alaunch of the private mission called Inspiration4 no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2021. Participants will undergo training including a specific focus on orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing.

“This is an important milestone towards enabling access to space for everyone," said SpaceX founder Elon Musk. "At first, things are very expensive and only through missions like this we're able to bring the cost down over time and make space accessible to all.”

The company is also launching the first private mission to the International Space Station, targeting a launch in early 2022.

"Let's have fun and inspire the public and get people fired up about the future," said Musk.

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to attend the University of Central Florida. He began working at WMFE as a college intern where he discovered his love for public radio.