SpaceX rocket with 4 amateurs blasts off for earth-circling trip

thefederal.com
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SpaceX launches 4 amateurs on private Earth-circling trip
The Dragon capsule's two men and two women are looking to spend three days going round and round the planet from an unusually high orbit 100 miles (160 km) higher than the International Space Station before splashing down off the Florida coast this weekend

SpaceX's first private flight streaked into orbit on Wednesday (September 15) night with two contest winners, a healthcare worker and their rich sponsor, the most ambitious leap yet in space tourism.

It was the first time a spacecraft circled Earth with an all-amateur crew and no professional astronauts.

"Punch it, SpaceX!" the flight's billionaire leader, Jared Isaacman, urged moments before lift-off.

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The Dragon capsule's two men and two women are looking to spend three days going round and round the planet from an unusually high orbit 100 miles (160 km) higher than the International Space Station before splashing down off the Florida coast this weekend.

It's SpaceX founder Elon Musk's first entry in the competition for space tourism dollars. Isaacman, 38, made his fortune with a payment-processing company he started in his teens. He's the third billionaire to launch this summer, following the brief space-skimming flights by Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson and Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos in July.

Joining Isaacman on the trip dubbed Inspiration4 is Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a childhood bone cancer survivor who works as a physician assistant where she was treated – St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Isaacman has pledged USD 100 million out of his own pocket to the hospital and is seeking another USD 100 million in donations.

Arceneaux became the youngest American in space and the first person in space with a prosthesis, a titanium rod in her left leg.

Also along for the ride: sweepstakes winners Chris Sembroski, 42, a data engineer in Everett, Washington, and…
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