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SpaceX to fly first civilian crew to space later this year, with public competitions for two seats

Crew Dragon spacecraft “Resilience” approaches the International Space Station in orbit.

NASA

SpaceX announced on Monday that it will launch four private individuals on a Crew Dragon capsule into orbit around the Earth, dubbed “the world’s first all-civilian mission.” It is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company’s spacecraft will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments. The mission, known as Inspiration4, seeks to raise support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman is donating the three accompanying seats on the mission “to crew members who will be selected to represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity,” SpaceX said in a press release.

“Inspiration4 is the realization of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars. I appreciate the tremendous responsibility that comes with commanding this mission and I want to use this historic moment to inspire humanity while helping to tackle childhood cancer here on Earth,” Isaacman said in a statement.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on the Demo-2 mission with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stands at the base of a Starship rocket prototype at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Steve Jurvetson on flickr

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