SpaceX will fly civilians to space this year for charity

February 4, 2021

The mission will be called Inspiration4 and its aim is to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

SpaceX has announced that it will partner with Shift4 Payments to pilot a new all-civilian mission to space. The mission is called Inspiration4 and is part of a larger charity event in aid of the  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

To score one of the seats on the 4-man mission, people can either make a donation to the Research Hospital or they can use the Shift4 Payments platform. Only two seats will be open to the public. The other two will be occupied by the CEO of Shift4 Payments and a representative from the Research Hospital.

Barring the requirements of either donating or making use of the Shift4 platform, the final selection will be based on “…crew members who represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity.”

Although not expressly mentioned, it appears that the offer is exclusively available to American citizens.

SpaceX will provide extensive training to the candidates. This will include zero-gravity training and mission simulations. Of course, civilians are not astronauts, so it’s safe to assume that the spacecraft will feature some of the latest technologies to allow for a very automated in-flight experience. 

Commercial spaceflight has been on SpaceX’s agenda since its conception. In 2022, SpaceX is planning another commercial flight featuring civilians. Seats on this flight, though, are on sale for a staggering $55 million. 

Crew selection for the Inspiration4 mission takes place at the end of February.