Every manned spaceflight to date has involved at least one major space agency, but later this year this could all be set to change with the announcement of the first ever entirely commercial space trip.
Funded by US billionaire Jared Iaacman, the mission will see four passengers blast off aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon for an undetermined number of days spent in space.
Particularly interesting is who Iaacman has chosen to take along – three members of the public with no astronaut experience whatsoever.
Two have already been decided – one is a health care worker at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, while the other is a businessman involved in a credit card processing company.
The final seat is still up for grabs and we will have to wait a while to find out who will fill it – anyone who donates to the hospital this month will have a chance to win the remaining ticket.
Isaacman, who made his fortune in the technology and aviation sectors, will be leading the mission himself – thus making this a entirely civilian endeavor.
“I truly want us to live in a world 50 or 100 years from now where people are jumping in their rockets like the Jetsons and there are families bouncing around on the moon with their kid in a spacesuit,” he said.
“I also think if we are going to live in that world, we better conquer childhood cancer along the way.”
Dubbed Inspiration4, the mission is tentatively scheduled for October of this year.
It remains unclear exactly how much money Isaacman is spending to make it happen.