4 civilians will circle Earth on 1st SpaceX private flight


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP/WTNH) — For the first time in 60 years of human spaceflight, a rocket is poised to blast into orbit with no professional astronauts on board, only four tourists.

SpaceX’s first private flight will be led by a 38-year-old entrepreneur who’s bankrolling the entire trip. The seats typically sell for $55 million each.

He gave away the remaining seats to fundraise for St. Jude’s. He’s taking two sweepstakes winners with him on the three-day trip circling Earth, along with Hayley Arceneaux, a St. Jude healthcare worker who survived childhood cancer.

“The fact that I’m going to be the youngest American in space really is just absolutely mind-blowing to me,” said Arceneaux. “And then I’ll be the first pediatric cancer survivor in space, which I’m honestly most excited about because I just think about the kids that are going to come after me and what this is going to mean to them.”

Geoscience professor Dr. Sian Proctor will become the fourth Black American woman to go to space.

They’ll soar 100 miles higher than the International Space Station, aiming for an altitude of 357 miles. Liftoff is set for Wednesday night from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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