Applications are now open
In what appears to be a space coloniser’s wet dream, SpaceX has confirmed that four individuals will get a chance to hop aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft to visit the International Space Station this year. The mission will launch from the Kennedy Space Center as the “world’s first all-civilian mission”.
Titled Inspiration4, the mission is a joint project between Elon Musk and fellow billionaire Jared Isaacman, who is, bizarrely, the CEO of Shift4 Payments, a credit processing firm.
According to a press release, the mission will kick off the biggest fundraiser ever for St. Jude, a children’s hospital with an already massive fundraising reach. “If we’re going to continue making advances up there in space, then we have an obligation to do the same down here on Earth,” he said.
Isaacman is donating two of the three remaining seats on the spacecraft to members of the public, with one of the seats “reserved for a St. Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission”.
The third and fourth crew seats will be decided on via an online competition running between February 1 and 28 of this year. The third seat is expected to open for a contestant who has donated to St. Jude, while the fourth one is for either a new or existing customer of Isaacman’s Shift4Shop e-commerce platform.
SpaceX has said that the seats will go “to crew members who will be selected to represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity”. Not sure you can really use words like ‘generosity’ and ‘prosperity’ to apply to billionaires, but the neoliberal overlords have spoken, and we must (cough) respect their commands.
SpaceX is planning to use Crew Dragon spacecraft, Resilience, which is currently docked at the International Space Station. Musk confirms that NASA is aware of the Inspiration4 mission “and is supportive”.
The company’s Ax-1 mission, also planned for the end of 2021, hosts a crew of four private astronauts paying $55 million each for an eight-day trip to the ISS. In 2018, Musk announced Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will take a ride around the moon on SpaceX’s new rocket system Starship, which is currently in development.
You can apply to take part in the mission here, though it’s worth bearing in mind that if you do win, you’ll be stuck in a confined space with an insufferable billionaire for days on end.