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SpaceX targets September 15 liftoff for first-ever all-civilian spaceflight

Published: Updated:

Four civilians arrived in Florida ahead of a planned liftoff next week for a SpaceX launch into orbit billed as the first all-civilian spaceflight in history.

After completing their final day of astronaut training at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California on Wednesday, September 8, the crew of Inspiration4 arrived in Florida on Thursday, landing at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

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The flight will be captained by Jared Isaacman, CEO of payments technology firm Shift4Payments, and who purchased the flight. He will be joined by Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where she was also once a patient. Arceneaux, will also serve as the flight's medical officer. The missions will also be manned by geosciences professor Sian Proctor, the mission's pilot, and Chris Sembroski is an Air Force veteran who works for aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

Dubbed Inspiration4, the mission is designed primarily to raise awareness and support for one of Isaacman’s favorite causes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading pediatric cancer center. He has pledged $100 million personally to the institute.

“After arrival, the teams from SpaceX and Inspiration4 also met yesterday evening for a follow-on flight readiness review and an initial weather briefing. After evaluating the readiness of the Falcon 9 rocket, Dragon spacecraft, associated ground systems, recovery assets and other key elements of SpaceX’s human spaceflight system, and the current weather forecasts of conditions at the launch site, along the ascent corridor, and at the landing locations off the coasts of Florida for a safe return of the crew a few days later, teams agreed to now target no earlier than 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, September 15 for liftoff. This will allow additional time for final preparations, vehicle checkouts and data reviews. SpaceX and Inspiration4 will narrow down the launch window to five hours approximately three days before liftoff,” read a press release form the Inspiration4 mission.

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(With Reuters)