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First Space Tourist Flight Successfully Lands Without a Professional Astronaut

This year has seen some interesting and unexpected advancements in the world of space travel, notable in billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson engaging in private, but highly-publicized trips into orbit. Last month, another mission earned its place on that list — albeit, after making history in a different way. In mid-September, four space tourists successfully and safely traveled into orbit without a professional astronaut, in a capsule courtesy of Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The mission, dubbed Inspiration4 became the first all-amateur crew to circle the world without a professional astronaut, launching on September 15th and returning to earth on Septemberr 18th.

The trip was sponsored by billionaire and Draken International founder Jared Isaacman, who coordinated the event as a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman pledged to raise $200 million for the cause, half of which would be donated by himself, and $50 million of which ended up being donated by Musk. Isaacman then held a lottery for one of the four seats on the mission, and held a competition among clients for his company for the final seat. Other members of the crew included health care worker Hayley Arceneaux, data engineer Chris Sembroski, and community college educator, scientist, and arist Sian Proctor.

“It was a heck of a ride for us … just getting started,” Isaacman reportedly told mission control during the flight.

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