SpaceX to Launch First All-Civilian Crew Mission to Space

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch on Wednesday evening its first all-civilian crew mission to space.

The spacecraft is set to launch at 8:02 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The Inspiration4 crew – 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman, 29-year-old bone cancer survivor and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux, 42-year-old Air Force veteran Chris Sembroski and 51-year-old geoscientist Sian Proctor – will be aboard the Elon Musk-founded company’s Crew Dragon capsule, which will be launched atop its reusable Falcon 9 rocket for a three-day expedition orbiting Earth before returning “to Earth and splash down at one of several possible landing sites off the Florida coast,” according to SpaceX.

Arceneaux will become the youngest American to fly into space, following the late NASA astronaut Sally Ride, who did so at the age of 32. Additionally, Arceneaux will be the first to fly into space with a prosthesis.

Proctor will become the fourth black American woman to orbit Earth.

The mission has a fundraising goal of $200 million for St. Jude and, during orbit, the crew “will conduct scientific research designed to advance human health on Earth and during future long-duration spaceflights,” according to SpaceX.

The mission “has been billed as the beginning of a new era of space travel in which average people, rather than government-selected astronauts and the occasional deep-pocketed adventurer, carry the mantle of space exploration,” according to CNN Business. Isaacman is funding the entire mission.

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