SpaceX Launches First Full-Civilian Crew into Orbit

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In a first for private space travel, SpaceX launched four civilians into low-Earth orbit September 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Inspiration4 mission, SpaceX’s fourth crewed space operation, was commissioned by Jared Isaacman, an amateur aviator and CEO of a payment processing service, for an undisclosed amount. He and three companions—including an Air Force veteran and data engineer, a geoscientist and entrepreneur, and a physician’s assistant—will collect medical data during their four-day circumnavigation and raise money for cancer research. “A few have gone before and many are about to follow,” said Isaacman. Crew members received about six months of training before embarking on the flight, which will take them around the globe roughly ever 90 minutes. While SpaceX intends the craft to fly autonomously, the crew has been trained to take over in the case of an emergency, AFP reported.

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