SpaceX Gets the Green Light for Historic Civilian Space Flight

by Quentin Blount

Well, folks, we are about to witness history. In just a few days, SpaceX will be sending an all-civilian crew to space for the first time ever.

It seems like SpaceX, the company owned by billionaire Elon Musk, is always making history. But on September 15, they will do so in a way that hits a little closer to home. For the first time in history, four private citizens will blast off into space on a three-day journey around the Earth. The special mission is being called Inspiration4. To make things even better, proceeds from the entire project will go toward St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The official Twitter account of the Inspiration4 mission posted some pretty sweet photos showing the views that lucky civilians will get to see.

“A look at Dragon’s Cupola, which will provide our Inspiration4 astronauts with incredible views of Earth from orbit!” Inspiration 4 captioned their post. “The crew visited the flight-hardware Cupola in California before it was shipped to Florida for integration with Dragon Resilience.”

As per usual, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will blast off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. That is if all of the weather conditions cooperate. The capsule is aiming to be roughly on the same level as the Hubble Space Telescope — in other words, an altitude of about 335 miles. That is 75 miles higher than the International Space Station.

Meet the Four Soon-to-be SpaceX Astronauts

As for the four civilian astronauts, they are about to have their lives forever changed. After several months of intense training, Dr. Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman, Chris Sembroski, and Hayley Arceneaux are set to arrive in Florida on Thursday to begin their pre-flight preparations.

The latest SpaceX mission will be led by the 38-year-old Isaacman. Not only is he an accomplished jet pilot himself, but he is also the founder and CEO of a credit card processing company called Shift4 Payments. According to Forbes, he has a total net worth of approximately $2.6 billion. And back in March, Isaacman announced his crew. One of the members is 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, who battled bone cancer as a young girl. She will serve as the crew’s medical officer.

Back in February, Arceneaux explained to the Associated Press how her battle with cancer prepared her for space.

“My battle with cancer really prepared me for space travel,” Arceneaux said. “It made me tough, and then also I think it really taught me to expect the unexpected and go along for the ride.”

As for Proctor, she was able to reserve her ticket to space thanks to winning a contest held by Isaacman’s Shift4 Payments business. But she is no stranger to the space industry. As a matter of fact, her father worked at the NASA tracking station during the Apollo missions.

And finally, the last of the seats on the Inspiration4 mission went to Chris Sembroski, a former Air Force missileman.