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SpaceX launches all-civilian crew into space

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Ines Ferre joins Brian Sozzi to discuss SpaceX’s historic all-civilian crew launch into orbit and what this feat could mean for the advancement in space travel.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- SpaceX launched the first all-civilian flight into outer space on Wednesday night from Kennedy Space Center without a hitch. Always a good thing. Yahoo Finance's resident space expert Ines Ferré is here with more. Ines, this is awesome.

INES FERRE: It certainly is. I mean, the launch was flawless. It happened last night at 8:02 PM Eastern time from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the first all-civilian nonprofessional astronauts to go to space in the Dragon Capsule-- SpaceX's Dragon Capsule. They're orbiting Earth for three days at an altitude of some 575 kilometers, or that's more than 316 miles. And that's higher than the Hubble Telescope, that's higher than the International Space Station.

And it's really a first on so many levels. It's the first all-civilian crewed mission, first person with a prosthetic limb to go into space, the youngest American to go into space-- a 29-year-old physician's assistant from St. Jude's Hospital-- the first female African-American pilot.

Now, Jared Isaacman, he's the CEO of Shift4 Payments. He chartered this flight. He is the commander on that flight. He's also a pilot-- a jet pilot as well. And he said, few have come before us, many will come after us, when he was inside that capsule. So this really opens up this space for civilians to be going up to space. And it's-- it's pretty astonishing, I mean, when you watch these images and when you see what SpaceX has been able to do with this.

- Absolutely, Ines. Definitely an incredible feat here for SpaceX. But when we think about the other major players in the space industry, how close is the competition like Virgin Galactic, for example, to its own civilian launch?

INES FERRE: Yeah, I mean, it's-- what Virgin Galactic-- what Blue Origin did, they did suborbital flights, and this is an orbital flight. So it's kind of like what-- I was speaking to one expert who said it's kind of like apples to oranges because really suborbital is very difficult, but orbital flights where you can go around the Earth, when you can go to the ISS, when you can go beyond the ISS, that is so much more difficult than these suborbital flights.

And Blue Origin has been around-- roughly around the same time as SpaceX, so SpaceX is really kind of the leader when we talk about this. And SpaceX also has different revenue streams. So of course, it does also satellites, it takes up satellites, it's got government contracts. So even if SpaceX weren't to do so well when it comes to taking civilians out in its own capsules, it still has other revenue streams. But SpaceX is really the leader on so many levels.

I mean, what these companies ultimately want to do is to have like an airline model for taking people up to space, whether that be suborbital or orbital space. And that's the ultimate goal is to get there so that you or I can go and take a space flight. Now, of course, the cost to get there is significant. The resources to get there is significant. But you know, Elon Musk has been interviewed about this. Just recently he said the cost per ton to orbit has to come down. We have to get it to an affordable level in order for us to become really a planetary-- interplanetary species.

- Ines, when is your trip? Is it this year or next year?

INES FERRE: I wish it were this year or next year, but we'll see if it's in my lifetime and your lifetime, Sozz. I mean, it very well could be. It's-- right now people say, you know, it's for the wealthy. It's for the wealthy. Well, for cars it was also for the wealthy as well. When cars first came out it was for the wealthy, and then Henry Ford came along. So let's see what happens with space.

- That's a very good point. Maybe someday going to space will cost $2, like taking in New York City Subway. Ines Ferré, thanks so much.