The countdown is on Wednesday as SpaceX readies to launch its first private flight and the world's first all-civilian spaceflight.
The Inspiration4 crew, aboard the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon Resilience spacecraft, is slated to lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The crew includes mission commander and billionaire Jared Isaacman, mission pilot Sian Proctor, medical officer Hayley Arceneaux and mission specialist Chris Sembroski.
The orbital flight's five-hour launch window opens at 8:02 p.m. ET, with a backup window for 8:05 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The U.S. Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron has forecast an 80% chance of favorable conditions on Wednesday.
Inspiration4 will last for approximately three days and is targeting an orbit of around 575 kilometers – or nearly 358 miles. It would be the highest that any humans have gone into orbit since the Hubble Space Telescope service technicians.
In another first, SpaceX announced in a Tuesday Q&A that it would be the first time there are three Dragons in orbit.
The Inspiration4 crew will orbit the earth 15 times each day and once every 90 minutes along a customized flight path carefully monitored by SpaceX mission control.
They will conduct experiments designed to expand our knowledge of the universe and of human health during spaceflight.
In addition to advancements in science, Inspiration4 is also looking to raise $200 million to accelerate research advancements and help to save children as well as raise awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. More than $128 million has already been committed to Inspiration4's fundraising campaign.
When the mission is over, the crew will splash down off the coast of Florida.
"I think this is a major milestone in human spaceflight," NASA's Phil McAlister told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday morning.
Jeff Bezos' July 20 flight hit 66 miles above the ground and Richard Branson's July 11 flight reached 53 miles.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has two tourist flights to space coming up in the next year in addition to a private moonshot.
FOX Business takes a look at Musk and the other big fish firing up the sector.
When Elon Musk isn't in the weeds running Tesla or burrowing tunnels via The Boring Company, the eccentric CEO is also running his rocket company as the founder and CEO of SpaceX, a private space-exploration company.
Fellow billionaire Sir Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group, the parent company of the spaceflight business Virgin Galactic.
|SPCE||VIRGIN GALACTIC HOLDINGS INC.||5.70||+0.31||+5.75%|
|BA||THE BOEING CO.||211.14||-1.59||-0.75%|
Branson's aerospace company has recently been in hot water over a report on the potential danger during its July 11 flight and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has opened an investigation into the matter, grounding its SpaceShipTwo.
Virgin Galactic has pushed back on what the company called "misleading characterizations and conclusions" and told FOX Business earlier this month that no one was ever in any danger and that the SpaceShipTwo never traveled over any population centers and never caused any hazard to the public.
"We take this seriously and are currently addressing the causes of the issue and determining how to prevent this from occurring on future missions," its spokesperson said. "Although the flight’s ultimate trajectory deviated from our initial plan, it was a controlled and intentional flight path that allowed Unity 22 to successfully reach space and land safely at our Spaceport in New Mexico."
|UA||UNDER ARMOUR INC.||10.71||+0.26||+2.49%|
In addition to being Amazon's CEO, and the richest man in the world with a net worth over $184 billion per Forbes, Bezos founded the spaceflight company Blue Origin in 2000. Last year, Blue Origin entered into a Launch Services Agreement partnership with the U.S. Air Force.
Bezos, who divorced his first wife MacKenzie, is frequently seen with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, who is also a reported aviation junkie.
Bezos' Blue Origin has reportedly been battling employee turnover, including executives and engineers, as drama in the industry has been dialed up.
Robert Bigelow is the owner of both the hotel chain Budget Suites of America and the aerospace company Bigelow Aerospace. The space company designs and manufactures modules for space stations.
Larry Page, along with Sergey Brin, stepped away from Google's day-to-day operations last year.
FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi, Paul Best, Brittany De Lea, Renwick Wilson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
*This story, published in February 2020, has been updated ahead of the November 2020 SpaceX launch and 2021 Inspiration4 launch.