SpaceX announces first all-civilian mission to space; the expedition to launch in the fourth quarter of this year
The global space tourism market is estimated to reach $1. 7 billion by 2027. The companies currently leading this market are Virgin Galactic, Airbus Group, Boeing Company, and others. Now SpaceX wants to make a foray into the nascent space tourism industry.
Today, SpaceX announced its first all-civilian mission to space, according to a report from NBC News. Unlike private citizens who have flown to space in the past, the space tourists will pay to hitch rides into orbit alongside trained NASA astronauts or Russian cosmonauts.
According to the report, the mission aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will feature a four-person crew led by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a Pennsylvania-based payment processing company. The expedition is expected to launch into orbit sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.
“When you’ve got a brand new mode of transportation, you have to have pioneers,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk told NBC News’ Tom Costello in an interview with NBC Nightly News. “Things are expensive at first, and as you’re able to increase the launch rate, increase the production rate, refine the technology, it becomes less expensive and accessible to more people.”
The report did not disclose how much Isaacman paid for the flight. Hoever he did say that it was for a good cause:
“The expedition is part of a charity initiative to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In addition to giving $100 million to St. Jude, Isaacman said he is donating the three other seats in the Dragon spacecraft to crewmembers who will be specially selected for the humanitarian flight.”
Back in 2018, we wrote about Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo, after he was chosen to be the first private passenger by SpaceX. At the time, Maezawa was seeking a girlfriend for the SpaceX voyage. On his website, the 44-year old billionaire said he was looking for a “special woman” to join him on Elon Musk’s mission around the moon.