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12 Sept 2021
SpaceX will Fly the First All-Civilian Crew to Space This Week
The Index Today
Another billionaire entrepreneur is placed to ride into space this week, buckled up inside the capsule of the SpaceX spacecraft, as part of a space tourism team is ready to make a history as the first all-civilian crew launched into Earth orbit.
According to the reports from Reuters, Jared Isaacman, the American founder and chief executive of e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments will lead the three fellow spaceflight novices on a trip expected to last three days from blastoff at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to splashdown in the Atlantic.
The 38-year-old tech mogul has settled into position an unspecified but presumably excessive sum to fellow billionaire and SpaceX owner Elon Musk to fly Isaacman and three specially selected travel mates into orbit aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
The crew vehicle is set for takeoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center above one of Musk's reusable Falcon 9 rockets, which opens at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT) on Wednesday. Timings of takeoff might change depending on the weather condition.
This orbital outing was conceived by Isaacman primarily to raise the awareness and support for one of his favorite causes which is the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a leading cancer center for the kids. He has pledged $100 million personally to the institute.
But a successful mission would also help lead in a new era of commercial space tourism, with several companies vying for wealthy customers willing to pay a small fortune to experience the exhilaration of supersonic flight, weightlessness and the visual spectacle of space from outside the earth.
Setting acceptable levels of consumer risk in the inherently dangerous endeavor of rocket travel is also key, and raises a pointed question.
Sridhar Tayur, a professor of operations management and new business models at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said "Do you have to be both rich and brave to get on these flights right now?" in an interview with Reuters on last Friday.
Right now, SpaceX is the most well-established player in the expanding commercial rocket ventures, they have already launched numerous projects cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.
Their rival companies such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin both recently celebrated their debut on space tourism missions with their respective founding executives - billionaires Richard Branson each going along for the ride.
Two seats were given to St. Jude, with one going “to a frontline healthcare worker” and the other to be awarded from a competition of people who donate to a fundraiser for St. Jude.
The fourth seat will be decided by a second competition among new and existing customers of Isaacman’s Shift4Shop eCommerce platform.