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SpaceX announces plan for commercial space rides

For the ‘discriminating’ tourist

OW Staff Writer | 2/5/2021, midnight

Want a ride in space, but lack the official qualifications for astronaut training school? Hawthorne-based SpaceX announced plans this week for what it calls the “world’s first all-commercial astronaut mission to orbit,’’ carrying private citizens on a multi-day trip orbiting the Earth.

The company plans to fly the mission, launching from Cape Canaveral in Florida, by the end of this year. The mission will raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The flight, dubbed Inspiration4, will be led by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments. According to SpaceX, Isaacman is “donating the three seats alongside him’’ aboard the Dragon spacecraft to “individuals from the general public who will be announced in the weeks ahead.’’

“The Inspiration4 crew will receive commercial astronaut training by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity and other forms of stress testing,’’ according to SpaceX. “They will go through emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations.’’

The crew will orbit the Earth every 90 minutes, “carefully monitored by SpaceX mission control.’’ At the end of the trip, the Dragon spacecraft will land in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

Information on how to potentially join the flight is available at Inspiration4.com.