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All-civilian rocket crew takes off on SpaceX mission to orbit Earth
16 September 2021, 06:05 | Updated: 17 September 2021, 17:58
SpaceX has made history by successfully putting the first-ever all civilian-crewed rocket into orbit.
The company's first private flight blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center with two contest winners, a health care worker and their rich sponsor.
It was the first time a rocket streaked toward orbit without any professional astronauts on board.
The Inspiration4 crew of Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski- launched into space shortly after 8 pm on Wednesday.
"Few have come before, and many are about to follow. The door's open now and it's pretty incredible," crew commander Isaacman said shortly after liftoff.
Isaacman is funding the trip in a private deal made with SpaceX. The other three civilians were selected via a competition launched in February.
SpaceX's recycled rocket soared on Wednesday night from the launch pad in Florida which has been used by the company's three previous astronaut flights for Nasa.
But this time, the Dragon capsule aimed for an unusually high orbit, 100 miles higher than the International Space Station.
The Dragon capsule's two men and two women are looking to spend three days circling the world, before splashing down off the coast of Florida on Saturday.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was present to see the crew off. He tweeted this morning: "It was an honor to wish you Godspeed before you left for orbit!"
SpaceX said: "Upon conclusion of the mission, Dragon will reenter Earth's atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida."