First all-civilian space crew set to launch from Florida's Space Coast

SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission is expected to lift off this week.


This week marks a highly anticipated launch for space travel. SpaceX is preparing to launch the very first all-civilian crew in just days.

True to its name, the Inspiration4 mission is blasting four regular people, not commercial astronauts, into space to do just that… inspire. There is one billionaire on board who is leading the mission, Jared Isaacman, who made his name by developing the go-to credit card processing service.

"It’s really becoming possible for different people to get into space, who aren’t professional, they’re not part of the government," said Dale Ketcham of Space Florida. "This a reality that’s coming."

Unlike the recent billionaire flights of Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson that went into suborbit for a few minutes, Inspiration4 is going the distance, beyond even the International Space Station for three days. The first mission of its kind is launching from Florida’s Space Coast.

"Getting into orbit is a much bigger enterprise. And the fact that that’s happening here first is a major plus," Ketcham said.

While the crew is over the moon about the opportunity, it’s not just about the cool factor. They have a mission in space and on the ground: raising money and attention for St. Jude cancer research for children.

In fact, one of the crew members, Hayley Arceneaux, is a St. Jude’s cancer survivor herself and is now back as a physician’s assistant helping children with leukemia. She is set to become the first person in space with a prosthesis.

"Going into a zero-gravity environment in space, a lot of the people that right now are encumbered and really have challenges on Earth, they won’t have that up there. Their minds and capabilities will be much more free in a space environment," Ketcham said. "So it’s really bring a whole new capability to humanity that we hope to take advantage of and I hope, I’m sure we will."

So when is liftoff? The Inspiration4 team said it will not happen any earlier than 8 p.m. on Wednesday night.