Elon Musk’s company SpaceX announced on Monday that a crew of four private citizens would fly to space to abroad a Crew Dragon, on a multiday space mission to orbit sun in late 2021. The Inspiration4 flight will be commanded by Jared Isaacman, a pilot, a wealthy businessman and the founder, and CEO of Shift4 payments. Musk has left the specifications of the flight up to Isaacman and said to him on call, “You Get to go where you want to go”.
This one of a kind mission is being orchestrated to help raise money for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital- a research facility focused on children’s catastrophic diseases, particularly cancer. It is a pro bono non-profit organization and treats children and teens up to the age of 21. This hospital is soon going to be the beneficiary of a fundraiser from the raffling of seats on the first all civilian crew on a spaceflight.
Apart from his own seat, Isaacman is also donating two other seats of the crew to St. Jude, one of which will be rewarded to a frontline health worker. Though the name of the doctor has not been announced yet, Isaacman, promising diversity, revealed that it will go to a female doctor who helps kids fight cancer. The other donated seat will be auctioned, with the highest paying donor getting the chance of their lifetime. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. SpaceX hopes to raise at least $200 million for St Jude, while Isaacman has already donated a $100 million.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 1, 2021
The fourth and the last seat of the ship will be won through a competition, the details of which will be announced through an advertisement at Sunday’s Super Bowl. Officials revealed that the competition will involve entrepreneurs making a video about their business and why they should get this chance to go into space. The winner would be decided by an independent panel of jury.
The members of the crew would undergo extensive training and will be required to be both physically and psychologically fit. Members need to be no taller than 6 feet 6 inches and weigh less than 250 pounds. The training would be long enough to get the strangers to thoroughly know each other before they are confined to the spaceship. The focus of the mission is to represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope (through the doctor), generosity (by Jared’s donations) and prosperity (by the wealthy entrepreneur who would be chosen).
The cost, of the mission and seats, will surely be high, with estimates up to $55 million per seat. However, as Elon Musk said, this mission will be a steppingstone towards making Space travel more affordable and accessible to all in the future. It requires civilians who were willing to spend now, to achieve this future dream. When asked, Elon Musk added that he would surely be on a flight one day, but not this one.
Hopefully, this mission is the first of many more to come for similarly wonderful causes.