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How to watch the launch of Inspiration4, SpaceX’s first fully private space mission

SpaceX is expected to launch the first fully private passenger crew into space on Wednesday. The Inspiration4 crew, three ordinary people and a billionaire philanthropist who funds the mission, will board SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on Wednesday afternoon and take off at 8:02 p.m. ET on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, accelerating to an orbit 360 miles above the ground – farther from Earth than the International Space Station.

If all goes according to plan, the mission will mark another milestone in the nascent commercial space industry, where billionaire-owned companies like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have worked to standardize space travel for people other than government astronauts. The mission also aims to raise $ 200 million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital to help fund cancer research.

Jared Isaacman, a skilled pilot and the wealthy founder of a payment processing company, will lead the mission as the commander. He bought four seats on Crew Dragon and chose three other passengers: Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor and medical assistant from St. Jude, was selected for the mission via St. Jude. Sian Proctor, professor of geology and former NASA astronaut candidate, won a video competition hosted by Isaacman’s company, Shift4, for his seat. And Christopher Sembroski, data engineer at Lockheed Martin, sits in the seat reserved for one of the thousands of people who have donated to St. Jude; his ticket was sent to him by a friend who won.

What time is take-off?

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with Crew Dragon on top, will lift off at 8:02 p.m. ET from the company’s Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The rocket’s first stage thruster will detach from its second stage thruster and Crew Dragon to make a return landing on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 10 minutes after takeoff. Meanwhile, Crew Dragon will zoom into orbit, detaching from the Falcon 9 second stage booster around 8:14 p.m. ET to begin a series of thruster shots that will propel the capsule higher and higher over the next hour or so.

How to watch

SpaceX will have a livestream on YouTube, as will Netflix, which produced a Inspiration4 mission documentary series with Time. It is not known if there will be live broadcasts of the crew while they are in orbit for three days. The latest episode of Netflix’s Inspiration4 series, slated for release on September 30, will focus on the crew’s experience in space and show footage of their activities.

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