Here's How to Watch SpaceX's Historic, All-Civilian Crew Launch Tonight
The launch is scheduled to take place 8:02 pm ET.
Who among us hasn’t dreamt about going to space? The idea of peacefully floating around in the vast unknown with an otherworldly view of Earth is a strange combo of thrilling and terrifying. Then again, going to space—for people who aren't astronauts or billionaires—isn't very realistic. However, on Wednesday, four "everyday people" are launching into space as part of what's billed as "the world's first all-civilian mission to orbit."
The mission, called Inspiration4, is the latest milestone in spaceflight history. The four-person crew will be launching into orbit inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which will launch via the company's Falcon 9 rocket, with no professional astronauts on board. The group will be landing in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida after spending three days orbiting Earth.
Set to lead the all-civilian crew is billionaire Jared Isaacman. The 38-year-old is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a payment processing company based in Pennsylvania. Isaacman will be accompanied by Sian Procter, a community college professor with a PhD in science education; Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude’s Research; and Christopher Sembroski, a data engineer for Lockheed Martin.
In a pre-launch briefing, Isaacman told Space.com how excited he was for the very rare opportunity, saying, "From the start of this mission, I’ve been very aware of how fortunate we are to be part of this history SpaceX is creating right now."
According to NBC News SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said that pioneering these missions will lay the groundwork for more regular and more affordable trips to space in the future. This summer we have seen billionaires like Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos take to the sky, which has sparked new conversations around space tourism.
If you’re interested in watching the launch on September 15, SpaceX’s YouTube channel is hosting a live launch webcast starting from 3:45 pm ET (embedded above), with the five-hour launch window opening at 8:02 pm ET.