SpaceX aims to launch 'all-civilian' trip into orbit

Next SpaceX liftoff with Japanese astronaut aboard targeted for April

All three crewmembers "will receive commercial astronaut training by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft", as well as orbital mechanics and stress testing, including operating in micro- or zero gravity, the statement said.

The return of Crew-1 astronauts is now scheduled for late April or early May and that of the Crew-2 mission is targeted for the fall, according to the USA space agency. Isaacman has purchased three additional seats aboard the mission.

Spearheaded by U.S. billionaire and Shift4 founder/CEO Jared Isaacman, the venture has been deemed Inspiration4 and is closely linked with the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and charity.

The first seat is reserved for a St. Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission who exemplifies the pillar of Hope as well as the courageous vision upon which St. Jude was founded - compassion, unity, equality and inclusion. The newly launched Shift4Shop platform offers a turnkey ecommerce experience includes a robust website builder, product and order management, customer marketing tools and more. The names of the judges were not yet disclosed.

Isaacman said he signed with Musk's company because it's the clear leader in commercial spaceflight, with two astronaut flights already completed.

SpaceX previously revealed that it would be looking to host private missions with Dragon once it was rated for human flight by NASA.

"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.

Said Isaacman, "Inspiration4 is the realization of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars".

The 37-year-old Isaacman is founder and CEO of integrated payment processing company Shift4 Payments and a trained pilot. Forbes estimates Isaacman has a net worth of roughly $2 billion. The rocket should push the capsule into Earth's orbit, where it will orbit at whatever altitude Isaacman wants, for as long as Isaacman wants. "We'll take you there", Musk said to him during Monday's call, adding, "You can change your mind too".

SpaceX has long said it would be open to selling tickets to civilians and tourists for seats on its Crew Dragon capsule, which entered operations past year and is primarily meant to shuttle NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Details of the ride in a SpaceX Dragon capsule are still being worked out, including the number of days the four will be in orbit after blasting off from Florida.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has announced that later this year it will launch the world's first civilian space flight. SpaceX created the capsule for NASA under its Commercial Crew Program, which sought to return humans spaceflight capabilities to the Untied States after the Space Shuttle Program's retirement in 2011 left America without that capability for almost a decade. That mission in early 2022 will be led by a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut, joined by three private astronauts.



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