Another billionaire is set to take off into space this week, tied to the capsule of a SpaceX spacecraft, as part of a space tourism team preparing to make history as the first all-civilian crew to launch into Earth’s orbit.
Jared Isakman, US founder and CEO of e-commerce company Shift4 Payments, will lead three spaceflight colleagues to prime weapons on a three-day flight from Florida, led by Elon Musk’s company.
The crew vehicle, dubbed Resilience, is ready to take off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in atop one of SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rockets, with a five-hour target launch window opening Wednesday at 20:00 EDT (0000 GMT).
Organizers said the forecasts see a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch, on an all-ground flight, Reuters reported.
The success of the flight could create a new era of commercial space tourism, as many companies compete to make wealthy customers pay a small fortune to experience the joys of supersonic travel, weightlessness, and the visual landscape of space.
SpaceX is easily the most famous player in the burgeoning constellation of commercial missile projects, having already launched several payloads and astronauts on NASA’s International Space Station.
Contestants Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin recently celebrated theirs prime space tourism missions with the participation of their founding CEOs, billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos.
But these two high-profile flights were suborbital, sending their crews of civilian astronauts to the so-called “edge of space” and returning in few minutes.
But SpaceX’s flight is designed to take its four occupants into Earth orbit, where a crew made up exclusively of civilians has never done so before.
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