SpaceX’s turn to embark on space tourism. A rocket from Elon Musk’s company is to propel four passengers on Wednesday who will spend three days in space, a very ambitious mission that will be the first in history to send only complete novices into orbit, without any professional astronaut. .
Called Inspiration4, this mission is to conclude a summer marked by the flight of billionaires over the final frontier: first Richard Branson on July 11, aboard the Virgin Galactic ship, then a few days later Jeff Bezos, with his company Blue Origin.
The billionaire SpaceX tourist will be named Jared Isaacman, 38-year-old American, boss of a financial services company and seasoned pilot.
But he did not found the company allowing him to make the trip. He simply rents the services, for a price that has not been disclosed but which runs into tens of millions of dollars.
Because the mission has nothing to do with the experience of just a few minutes offered by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin.
This time, it’s about going to fly further than the International Space Station (ISS).
Elon Musk’s company has already transported no less than ten astronauts to the ISS on behalf of NASA. But they will be the first private passengers to board the Dragon capsule, launched by the Falcon 9 rocket.
In addition to Jared Isaacman, captain on board, three anonymous will be on the trip, selected through an original process. Each seat is meant to embody a value.
Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a pediatric cancer survivor, represents “hope”. She will be the first person with a prosthesis to go to space.
One of the donors secured the seat of “generosity”: Chris Sembroski, 42, is a former US Air Force employee who now works in the aviation industry.
The last seat represents “prosperity,” and was offered to Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old earth science professor who, in 2009, almost became an astronaut for NASA. She will be only the fourth African American woman to go to space.
Take-off is scheduled for Wednesday from 8:00 p.m. on the US East Coast (midnight GMT). Another launch opportunity is planned for Thursday if the weather conditions require it.
Passengers will take off from the legendary launch pad 39A, at NASA’s Kennedy Center, Florida, from where the Apollo missions to the moon took off.