SpaceX Announced First Tourist Flight To Space, Taking Place In Fourth Quarter This Year

Aadhya Khatri - Feb 04, 2021


SpaceX Announced First Tourist Flight To Space, Taking Place In Fourth Quarter This Year

On Monday, SpaceX made public its first all-civilian flight to space, setting another milestone for the space tourism industry

On Monday, SpaceX made public its first all-civilian flight to space, setting another milestone for the space tourism industry.

The four civilians will fly onboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. They are led by the CEO and founder of Shift4 Payments Jared Isaacman. The company said the flight would take place at some time in the fourth quarter of 2021.

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in an interview with CNBC, when there is a new mode of transportation, it calls for pioneers. He said the service might be expensive at first but when the company was able to refine the technology and increase the launch rate, it would become more accessible.

Elon Musk
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in an interview with CNBC, when there is a new mode of transportation, it calls for pioneers

This idea isn’t new as there have been tourists to space before but the difference is they paid to hitchhike spacecraft carrying Russian cosmonauts and NASA astronauts. The upcoming flight of SpaceX would be the first to have no trained astronauts onboard.

The four civilians will have to undergo the company’s training to prepare for emergencies and learn how to deal with orbital mechanics.

According to Jared Isaacman, the Inspiration4 mission has been a lifelong dream and a forward step to a future when space exploration is for everyone.

The four civilians must have paid millions of dollars to have the chance. However, SpaceX didn’t say how much the flight set them back. Musk said that he hoped the Inspiration4 mission would lay the groundwork for the space tourism industry and open an opportunity for people beyond the billionaires who have a deep pocket.

Jared Isaacman
The four civilians will fly onboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. They are led by the CEO and founder of Shift4 Payments Jared Isaacman

Musk compared this flight with the moon mission back in 1969. He said it wasn’t just the crew that went to the moon, humanity set foot there with them.

The first flight with all of the crew are civilians was a huge opportunity but it also posed an enormous challenge, Musk said. So the ultimate priority for SpaceX now is to keep the passengers safe.

The mission is part of an effort to raise funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman has pledged $100 million to the initiative and he said he would donate the three other seats on the flight to people specially selected for the flight.

Isaacman said he appreciated the responsibility coming with being the leader of the voyage and he wanted to inspire humanity as well as treating childhood cancer on Earth.

The mission will fly onboard SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the historic Launch Complex 39A. The launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has seen the company’s rockets flying into space since 2017. It was also used for the Moon program of NASA.

Launch Complex 39A
The mission will fly onboard SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the historic Launch Complex 39A

The Dragon capsule will circle our planet once every 90 minutes, following a pre-programmed flight path. When the journey ends, the capsule will go back to Earth and touch down off the Florida coast.

Jared Isaacman is a trained pilot and he has flown both military and commercial aircraft. He will be the commander of the upcoming mission. Among the three other seats, one will be offered to an ambassador of St. Jude and another is for a selected member of the public.

The last spot on the spacecraft is reserved for an entrepreneur who uses Shift4Shop eCommerce platform. The competition for a seat on the spacecraft began on Monday and ends on February 28. An independent judge panel will decide who the winner is.

The first tourist to space was Dennis Tito – an American multimillionaire who went to International Space Station. His journey took place in 2001 and lasted for eight days. Rumor has it that it cost him $20 million to travel onboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Dennis Tito
The first tourist to space was Dennis Tito – an American multimillionaire who went to International Space Station

Ever since Tito made his voyage, there have been only 6 other private passengers. However, the space tourism industry is emerging as Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, with their Blue Origins and Virgin Galactic, will begin offering trips around Earth later this year.

In January, SpaceX announced another journey with civilians onboard. This voyage is led by Michael Lopez-Alegria – a former NASA astronaut. The journey began next January, carrying Lopez-Alegria and three other passengers who have paid $55 million each to have a seat onboard.

In 2018, SpaceX announced that Yusaku Maezawa – CEO and founder of fashion retailer Zozo would be the first private passenger to circle around the Moon. The Japanese billionaire’s journey will take place in 2023.

While Isaacman’s flight isn’t supposed to fly that far, Elon Musk said SpaceX was open to other suggestions involving the itinerary.

>>> Elon Musk Hired A Brain Coach To Help His Work At SpaceX

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