SpaceX launches first all-civilian crew into orbit without professional astronauts
SpaceX launches first all-civilian crew into orbit without professional astronauts

 SpaceX launched four ordinary citizens into orbit Wednesday night without any professional astronauts along for the ride, an unprecedented feat in the history of spaceflight.

The five-hour launch window for Inspiration4 opened at 8:02 p.m. ET for launch from Launch Complex 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Sitting atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket are four private citizens in a specially modified Crew Dragon capsule awaiting to start three days of orbiting the Earth, the first time an all-civilian crew will have orbited the planet. 

Paying for it all is Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire high-school dropout, who is promoting the flight as a massive fundraising effort for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

Isaacman, a pilot who is qualified to fly commercial and military jets, reached a deal with SpaceX in late 2020 for the mission. Neither is saying how much he is paying SpaceX for the launch, though Isaacman has said it was far less than $200 million he hopes to raise for St. Jude.

"This dream began 10 months ago," Isaacman said at a news conference Tuesday, noting how quickly the mission came together. "We set out from the start to deliver a very inspiring message, certainly the opportunities up in space and what can be done there. But also what we can accomplish here on Earth."

 SpaceX launched four ordinary citizens into orbit Wednesday night without any professional astronauts along for the ride, an unprecedented feat in the history of spaceflight.

The five-hour launch window for Inspiration4 opened at 8:02 p.m. ET for launch from Launch Complex 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Sitting atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket are four private citizens in a specially modified Crew Dragon capsule awaiting to start three days of orbiting the Earth, the first time an all-civilian crew will have orbited the planet. 

Paying for it all is Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire high-school dropout, who is promoting the flight as a massive fundraising effort for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

Isaacman, a pilot who is qualified to fly commercial and military jets, reached a deal with SpaceX in late 2020 for the mission. Neither is saying how much he is paying SpaceX for the launch, though Isaacman has said it was far less than $200 million he hopes to raise for St. Jude.

"This dream began 10 months ago," Isaacman said at a news conference Tuesday, noting how quickly the mission came together. "We set out from the start to deliver a very inspiring message, certainly the opportunities up in space and what can be done there. But also what we can accomplish here on Earth."

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