In 60 years of human spaceflight, a rocket is going to blast into orbit with no professional astronauts on board for the first time with the first SpaceX private flight.
SpaceX’s first private flight will be commanded by a 38-year-old billionaire entrepreneur who is funding the entire trip. Accompanying him are two sweepstakes winners on the three-day, round-the-world trip. In addition, a health care worker who survived childhood cancer.
They will ride alone in a fully equipped Dragon capsule. The same kind SpaceX uses to send astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA. However, the scheduled flight won’t be going there.
The flight will be launching Wednesday night (September 15th) from Kennedy Space Center. The four brave pioneers will soar towards an altitude of 357 miles, 100 miles higher than the space station. Just above the current position of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Comparatively, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin briefly skimmed space during their quick rides in July. Branson reached 53 miles while Bezos hit 66 miles.
Jared Isaacman, the 38-year-old billionaire entrepreneur, says, “This is the first step toward a world where everyday people can go and venture among the stars.”
Preparation For The First SpaceX Private Flight
All four came together in March to prepare for the first SpaceX private flight. They hiked up Washington’s Mount Rainier in the snow, trained in short moments of weightlessness aboard dummy aircraft. Additionally, like all astronaut training, endured intense, rapid spins in fighter jets and centrifuges.
“We definitely had some Apollo 13-like simulation rides home where virtually everything was broken, and everybody made it back. So I think we passed all the tests,” Isaacson said.
While accepting the risks, the four are impressed with SpaceX’s focus on safety and reusability. However, Chris Sembroski, 42, a data engineer and former Air Force missile man from Everett, Washington, said his wife will hold off celebrating until splashdown.
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