WASHINGTON — American private space company SpaceX announced on Monday its plans to target 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.
The mission, to be launched from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the 37-year-old founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments.
Isaacman is donating the three seats alongside him aboard the Dragon spacecraft to individuals from the general public who will be announced in the weeks ahead, according to SpaceX.
“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,” said Isaacman.
The mission enables access for everyday people who dream of going to space, said SpaceX.
The all-civilian crew will receive commercial astronaut training before exiting Earth’s atmosphere. They will go over orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity and forms of stress testing.
There will also be sessions for emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft exercises and 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 the Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida, according to SpaceX.
In 2020, SpaceX returned America’s ability to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station for the first time since NASA’s shuttle program ended in 2011. It was also the first-ever manned space launch by a private company.
In addition to flying astronauts for NASA, Dragon spacecraft was also designed to carry commercial astronauts to Earth orbit, the space station, or beyond, according to SpaceX.