NATIONAL NEWS

SpaceX Announces First-Ever All-Civilian Space Flight Crew

Feb 2, 2021, 5:31 AM

SpaceX announces first-ever all-civilian space flight crew. (SPACEX)...

SpaceX announces first-ever all-civilian space flight crew. (SPACEX)

(SPACEX)

Jared Isaacman, an entrepreneur behind a payment processing startup, is funding a multimillion trip to space aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which could be the first-ever orbital flight crewed entirely by non-astronauts.

Isaacman, 37, said he will command the mission, which is slated for late-2021 and will see the spacecraft make a “multi-day” trip into Earth’s orbit, according to a press release. Isaacman has purchased three additional seats aboard the mission. The seats will be donated to a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital “ambassador,” and a member of the public who enters for a chance to join the trip.

The St. Jude ambassador has already been selected, Isaacman said. He did not disclose any details of their identity beyond saying it would be a woman and a front-line healthcare worker who’s “committed to helping kids beat cancer.”

The fourth seat is reserved for a winner of a contest, limited to customers of Isaacman’s eCommerce platform, Shift4Shop. Eligible competitors will have to launch an online store on the platform and tweet a video about their “entrepreneurial story,” which will then be reviewed by “a panel of celebrity judges, ” according to the company. The names of the judges were not yet disclosed.

It’s not clear when the winners will be chosen, though Isaacman told reporters on a conference call Monday that the crew members could all begin training within 30 days.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has previously expressed interest in joining a SpaceX mission, told reporters that he will not be on the Inspiration4 mission.

“I’ll be on a flight one day, but not this one,” he said.

Isaacman added that this mission, dubbed Inspiration4, with the “4” referencing the number of crew members, “is the realization of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars.”

Isaacman said he wanted the mission to also mark a “historic moment to inspire humanity while helping to tackle childhood cancer,” and he pledged to also donate $100 million to the hospital as part of a push to raise $200 million more dollars for the organization’s research.

Isaacman is also the CEO of Shift4, a payment processing company that says it processed more than $200 billion in payments in 2019 in industries including retail, hospitality and gaming. Forbes estimates Isaacman has a net worth of roughly $2 billion.

It’s not clear exaclty how long the trip will be or where in orbit it will fly. Musk told Isaacman on Monday, “wherever you want to go, we’ll take you there.”

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 last year and is primarily intended to shuttle NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Last February, SpaceX hinted that it would put together a trip for four people to spend a few days in orbit, enjoying Earthly views onboard the 13-foot-wide spacecraft.

SpaceX will train Isaacman, who has previous experience piloting various aircraft, and his fellow crew members for the mission at SpaceX facilities.

That training will involved some of the regimen that professional astronauts undertake, including emergency preparedness, microgravity training and space suit training, according to the press release.

SpaceX — and NASA — have long hoped that SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon spacecraft would cultivate more private-sector interest in spending big bucks on space travel. 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 nearly a decade.

But rather than owning the spacecraft, as NASA has owned all previous humans spaceflight vehicles, the Commercial Crew Program allowed SpaceX to retain ownership, allowing it to sell seats to non-astronauts with the aim of drumming up interest in space-based research and tourism.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Get Out the Vote Rally March 2 in Richmond, Virginia....

Gregory Krieg, CNN

Trump will win North Dakota GOP caucuses, CNN projects

 Former President Donald Trump will win North Dakota’s Republican presidential caucuses, CNN projects, claiming one final boost before the campaign expands to 15 states on Super Tuesday.

36 minutes ago

FILE - Left to right, clockwise: Twitter former executives Vijaya Gadde, Parag Agrawal, Ned Segal, ...

Brian Fung and Clare Duffy, CNN

Former Twitter execs sue Elon Musk over severance payments

A group of former Twitter executives sued Elon Musk on Monday in a bid to recover more than $128 million in severance that they allege Musk has not paid since he acquired the company, now called X, more than a year ago.

4 hours ago

Idaho State Police released aerial photos of a string of crash sties on Interstate 84 on March 4, 2...

Mary Culbertson

63 cars, semitrucks crash on I-84 following winter storm

Idaho State Police responded to a string of crashes on I-84 Monday morning, closing miles of the interstate for hours.

5 hours ago

Tova Callender, left, and Christiane Keyhani of Hui O Ka Wai Ola, collect water samples at the Mala...

AUDREY McAVOY Associated Press

In Hawaii, coral is the foundation of life. What happened to it after the Lahaina wildfire?

For now, state officials are urging the public to limit their exposure to the ocean and seafood until scientists understand what might be making its way through the food chain.

6 hours ago

Cookie Monster has taken to X to express his frustration over shrinking products, aka: "shrinkflati...

Bryan Mena, CNN

Even Cookie Monster is complaining about the US economy now

Cookie Monster has taken a stance on a very real and controversial trend in the US economy — and he hates it.

6 hours ago

Thousands of pounds of Trader Joe's chicken soup dumplings have been recalled due to possible conta...

Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

61,000 pounds of Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings recalled due to possible contamination with hard plastic

More than 61,000 pounds Trader Joe’s steamed chicken soup dumplings are being recalled due to possible contamination with hard plastic from a permanent marker.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

SpaceX Announces First-Ever All-Civilian Space Flight Crew