WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

The next human launch from Florida’s Space Coast won’t be of NASA astronauts. The space agency says that’s a good thing.

The Inspiration4 crew suits up for a dress rehearsal of the launch from Kennedy Space Center. Photo: Inspiration4 / John Kraus


Florida’s Space Coast is hosting a human space launch from Kennedy Space Center this week. It won’t be NASA astronauts heading to space. Instead, a crew of four civilians is hitching a ride from private space company SpaceX marking a new chapter in commercial space operations.

The crew will fly in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. This private mission was bankrolled by a billionaire payment processing CEO Jared Isaacman. He selected three additional participants who will join the crew for three days in orbit inside their spaceship.

While SpaceX is paying to use NASA infrastructure to launch the mission from Kennedy Space Center, the agency is for the most part a spectator during the mission.

For NASA’s head of human spaceflight Kathy Lueders, that’s not a bad thing. ​​”We’re dreaming about us one day, being able to enable a capability that the public can use, and we’re getting ready to see it,” she said.

The agency is providing SpaceX with communication and data support and has shared commercial crew astronaut training materials like access to simulations and parachute imagery. At Kennedy Space Center, the agency is also providing SpaceX with pad rescue support, services related to propellants and surveillance support from helicopters and Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

A NASA spokesperson said the value of these services proved to SpaceX are a “relatively small amount,” stemming from various Space Act Agreements (SAA) and Commercial Space Launch Agreements (CSLA).

The crew’s SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule was designed and developed for NASA to transport its astronauts to the International Space Station. Lueders said the agency is relying more and more on the private sector to send humans and robots to explore our solar system. The development of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is aiding in SpaceX’s first all-civilian mission.

“I cannot tell you how excited I am for the SpaceX folks,” said Lueders. “This is like watching your kids graduate from college.”

SpaceX is launching the mission from Launch Complex 39-A, previously home to Space Shuttle launch, now leased to the commercial space company. The five-hour launch window opens on Wednesday starting at 8:02 p.m. ET.


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

GET THE LATEST
Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

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. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »

TOP