Musk’s SpaceX Set for First Civilian Space Mission Tomorrow

Carrier Rocket Takes Off To The Clouds.
3DSculptor / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s launch — set for tomorrow — will take four civilians 360 miles from Earth for three days on the first civilian-only space mission.

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SpaceX said it was targeting a five-hour launch on Wednesday, Sept. 15, opening at 8:02 p.m. EDT for launch of the Inspiration4 mission — the world’s first all-civilian human spaceflight to orbit — aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“The reason I started SpaceX was to get humanity to Mars. I want to make the dream of space accessible to anyone and ultimately making science fiction not fiction,” Musk said in a Netflix video on Twitter.

Approximately three days after liftoff, Dragon and the Inspiration4 crew will return to Earth and splash down at one of several possible landing sites off the Florida coast, according to a statement on the SpaceX website.

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Inspiration4 will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and a jet pilot. He donated the three seats alongside him aboard Dragon to individuals from the general public: Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur and trained pilot.

“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,” Isaacman tweeted.

According to SpaceX’s website, the Inspiration4’s mission is to raise $200 million for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to study the body in space.

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“During their multi-day journey in orbit, the Inspiration4 crew will conduct scientific research designed to advance human health on Earth and during future long-duration spaceflights,” the SpaceX website says.

According to a report by BryceTech, $7.6 billion was invested in space companies in 2020, with 9 companies accounting for 80% of space investment in 2020; 3 companies accounting for 60%; and SpaceX accounting for 30%.

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Meanwhile, the members of the Space billionaire boys club are still at each other’s throats — partly due to a gripe that started over a lunar contract earlier this year. Just last week, C. Andrew Keisner, lead counsel for Kuiper Systems LLC, an Amazon subsidiary, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, stating, “If the FCC regulated hypocrisy, SpaceX would be keeping the Commission very busy. Despite its repeated assertion that raising arguments in FCC proceedings is ‘anticompetitive,’ SpaceX’s advocacy against others in front of the FCC is unrestrained. SpaceX works tirelessly to ensure that everyone else plays by the rules that it itself rebuffs,” according to the letter.

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In response, Musk tweeted: “Turns out Besos (sic) retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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