SpaceX's first all-civilian launch has been given the green light.
Inspiration4 will launch on September 15 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida's Launch Complex 39A, according to a statement issued by SpaceX on Friday. A crew of four private citizens will board a Crew Dragon spaceship and travel around the Earth in three days.
The Inspiration4 crew will embark on a multi-day voyage aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a tailored flight route that will be closely monitored by the aerospace corporation.
Dragon will reenter Earth's atmosphere at the end of the mission, splashing down off the coast of Florida.
Mission Commander Jared Isaacman, Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, and Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski make up the all-civilian crew.
Isaacman, 38, is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a credit card processing company, as well as a licensed pilot. He hasn't said how much the flight will cost, but he has pledged $100 million to St. Jude's, with one seat reserved for "a St. Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission."
Forbes estimates that he has a net worth of $2.6 billion.
Proctor and Sembroski were chosen as part of a global competition for a journey on the flight, while Arceneaux, a childhood bone cancer survivor and St. Jude physician's assistant, was chosen to represent St. Jude's cause.
The group has been training for their flight over the past three months. Both SpaceX and Inspiration4 teams formally greenlit the mission on Friday (Sept. 3), indicating that their efforts had paid off.
Both the Dragon crew capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket have flown before and have been authorized to fly after teams assessed each of the craft's systems as well as data from the launch pad's ground support systems.
Inspiration4 officials said in a statement that liftoff is anticipated on Sept. 15, with a backup launch date of Sept. 16, Space.com reported.
The Dragon's docking port was removed and replaced with a dome window since it would remain free-flying in orbit rather than visit the International Space Station as previous Crew Dragon missions have done.
According to the Inspiration4 team, the window, which was inspired by the Cupola on the International Space Station, would provide the crew with spectacular views of Earth.