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SpaceX has revealed plans that the first all-commercial mission to orbit could take place this year.
Elon Musk's company is targeting 'no earlier' than the fourth quarter of 2021 for the Falcon 9 launch, meaning it could be happening in October, November or December.
The Inspiration4 flight will launch from Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Jared Isaacman will be on board.
The founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments is also donating three seats to the general public so there's a chance to experience the multi-day journey. It might be a slim chance, but let's be optimistic.
More information on the Inspiration4 website states the seats can be won by legal US residents that are over 18.
One seat is available for US residents who make a donation to help St Jude's Children's Research Hospital reach its fundraising targets; another will go to a Shift4Shop customer selected after posting an inspirational business story on Twitter; while the third will go to someone who 'embodies the courageous vision upon which St. Jude was founded - compassion, unity, equality and inclusion'.
"While a historic journey awaits us in space, I hope this mission reinforces how far inspiration can take us and the extraordinary achievements it leads to here on Earth." - Jared Isaacman, Inspiration4 Commander pic.twitter.com/y41tsFJzNu
- Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) February 1, 2021
The SpaceX press release reads: "Today, it was announced SpaceX is targeting no earlier than the fourth quarter of this year for Falcon 9's launch of Inspiration4 - the world's first all-commercial astronaut mission to orbit - from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida."
It goes on: "Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, is donating the three seats alongside him aboard Dragon to individuals from the general public who will be announced in the weeks ahead. Learn more on how to potentially join this historic journey to space by visiting Inspiration4.com."
The crew will receive commercial astronaut training prior to the launch which will cover the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing.
The press release goes on: "They will go through emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations.
"This multi-day journey, orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a customized flight path, will be carefully monitored at every step by SpaceX mission control.
"Upon conclusion of the mission, Dragon will reenter Earth's atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida."
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