Ever since humans set foot on the moon, the goal has been to travel further into the giant void of space. Over 50 years later, and we are not quite there yet. But Hollywood blockbusters portray space travel as a common thing, often featuring people with their own private shuttles.
There are plans to send astronauts to Mars, though, which will make it the furthest that professional space travelers have ever gone. For civilians, we just have to live vicariously through NASA. Tap or click here to see NASA’s big plans for 2021.
But SpaceX is about to change the game. The company will turn space tourism on its head as it takes civilians into the great beyond.
Ticket to nowhere
For a trip into low-Earth orbit or to the ISS, civilians would typically hitch a ride with professional astronauts. You wouldn’t be required to assist in space missions or conduct research. But from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX will make history soon.
The company plans to launch the world’s first all-commercial astronaut mission to orbit. That means four ordinary people will get to travel to low-Earth orbit by themselves. And the good news? You could be one of them.
The first person announced to be taking part in this historic flight will be Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman. He has generously donated three other seats on the Dragon capsule to complete the four-person Inspiration4 flight.
The mission commander
Isaacman is an accomplished jet pilot and adventurer and will serve as the mission commander. While the Dragon will be traveling at 17,000 miles per hour, he is no stranger to fast flying. He holds two Speed-Around-The-World flight records and has been in over 100 airshows as part of the Black Diamond Jet Team.
“The Inspiration4 crew will receive commercial astronaut training by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing,” SpaceX explained in its announcement.
The four commercial astronauts will receive emergency preparedness training, how to put spacesuits on and take them off, along with full mission simulations. SpaceX hasn’t revealed many details, but we do know that the trip will be “a multi-day journey” with a customized flight path.
During flight, the crew will conduct microgravity research and experiments. And in true SpaceX style, the Dragon capsule will make a water landing off Florida’s coast. The launch is set to take place in Q4 this year.
Secure your seat to space
If you would like to be considered for the journey of a lifetime, you should head on over to the Inspiration4.com website. The additional three astronauts will be selected in just over 20 days, so you better hurry.
But it’s not as simple as entering your details in a form and hoping for the best. The four seats represent the mission pillars of Leadership, Hope, Generosity and Prosperity.
Isaacman will fill the Leadership seat, and Hope will be announced closer to the time. To secure your seat representing Prosperity, you need to Start a Shift4Shop and post your inspirational business story on Twitter. To be considered for the Generosity seat, you need to donate to St. Jude.
Depending on the amount that you donate, you will receive entries into the sweepstake. If you donate $10, you will receive 100 entries. As the amount scales, SpaceX is also throwing in some special goodies.
The maximum amount you can donate is $100,000. If you do so in one lump sum, you will get 10,000 entries, an aerobatic flight in a MiG-29, authentic flight suit with I4 mission patches, and VIP tickets to the Inspiration4 launch experience for two people.
Interestingly, tucked away in the middle of the Ts and Cs of the sweepstakes, you don’t have to donate at all to enter. Each non-donation submission will get you 100 entries, up to a maximum of 10,000 entries. Good luck on your mission!