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A Groundbreaking New Mission From SpaceX Will Launch From Florida’s Space Coast This Evening

·2 min read
  • This evening, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the first all-civilian crew of astronauts into space.

  • If all goes according to plan, the crew will lift off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 8:02 p.m. Eastern.

  • Led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, the astronauts will spend three days orbiting Earth before they splash down in the Gulf of Mexico.

A groundbreaking new mission from SpaceX is scheduled to launch from Florida’s Space Coast this evening. The mission, called Inspiration4, will be the first to send a private, all-civilian crew to space. If successful, their journey could mark a major milestone in the quest to open space up to the masses.

Weather permitting, the four astronauts will lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:02 p.m. Eastern and kick off a three-day tour of Earth’s orbit. Both SpaceX and Netflix, which is filming a docuseries about the mission, will livestream the launch starting at 7 p.m.

The four-person crew is led by the billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, who founded what would become the payment processing company Shift4 in 1999. Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor and a nurse at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, is the mission’s medical officer and will become the youngest American to fly to orbit.

Sian Proctor, a geologist, community college professor and analogue astronaut from Tempe, Arizona, will serve as the mission’s pilot. She is the first black woman to hold that post. Lockheed Martin data engineer Christopher Sembroski of Everett, Washington, will serve as a mission specialist. Both Proctor and Sembroski won their respective seats in two separate contests held earlier this year.

The crew will fly to space atop one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, a vehicle that has previously shepherded three other crews to the International Space Station. Together, they will spend three days orbiting Earth in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule at an altitude of approximately 360 miles above Earth’s surface. (For those keeping track, that’s roughly 80 miles higher than the ISS’s altitude.)

They are scheduled to return to Earth and splash down in Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.

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