On the heels of Axiom Space announced on Ax1, the first private crew to visit the International Space Station, due to launch no earlier than January 2022, SpaceX has raised the bar.

Today, SpaceX announced Inspiration4, the first fully civilian mission to orbit. As part of a brief announcement on the company website, SpaceX has announced a target launch date for the mission no earlier than the fourth quarter of this year. The launch will take place from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the four-member crew will reach orbit and spend several days there before re-entering the atmosphere for an offshore landing. from the coast of Florida.

The initiative to launch Inspiration4 is led by Jared Isaacman, Founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, who will serve as Mission Commander. Isaacman has purchased all four seats aboard the Crew Dragon that will complete the Inspiration4 mission – and two of the seats are eligible to be won in a raffle currently underway. the new website of the mission. The name of the mission – Inspiration4 – comes from the raffle initiative to raise funds and awareness at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. (The fourth seat will be occupied by an ambassador from St. Jude.)

To participate in the Inspiration4 Mission, you can either donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or start an e-commerce business using the Shift4Shop platform and detailing your business goals through social media. Entries will be accepted until February 28, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

The winners, along with Issacman and the St. Jude Ambassador, will complete standard commercial astronaut training provided by SpaceX. This will include learning about the Falcon 9 launcher and Dragon spacecraft, orbital mechanics, as well as microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing. Additional emergency preparedness training and mission simulations will also be required for those lucky enough to join the mission.

While reactions were mixed to the idea that “everyday people” could go to space, as SpaceX’s follow-up tweet suggests to the announcement, others were quick to point out that by doing donating seats and raising funds for St. Jude, the private mission is one of them. most beneficial to date announced – and on one of the most aggressive calendars.

Given that Inspiration4 is aiming for a launch no earlier than the end of 2021, we can expect continued fanfare as winners are chosen and a launch date is set. But don’t delay: if you want to participate in the contest and try to win a ticket for the space, it’s until the end of the month.