Crew Dragon’s spaceship “Resilience” is approaching the International Space Station in orbit.


SpaceX announced Monday that it will put four private individuals into orbit around Earth on a Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed “the world’s first purely civilian mission,” slated for the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company’s starship is commanded by Jared Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments. The mission, known as Inspiration4, seeks to raise support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman is donating the mission’s three accompanying seats “to crew members selected to represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity,” SpaceX said in a press release.

“Inspiration4 is making a lifelong dream come true and a step toward a future where everyone can set out and explore the stars. I appreciate the tremendous responsibility that comes with leading this mission, and I want this historic moment use to inspire humanity and at the same time to help fight cancer in children here on earth, “Isaacman said in a statement.

The Inspiration4 crew is trained under the direction of SpaceX and prepares for launch on one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets.

Elon Musk’s company has announced several private missions in recent years, including a contract with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to fly the company’s Starship rocket on a trip around the moon in 2023. SpaceX also has space tourism deals with Completed Axiom Space, which aims to fly four people on a 10-day trip to the International Space Station early next year, and Space Adventures, which aims to fly four tourists into orbit on a 5-day “free-flight” trip by 2022.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stands at the base of a prototype Starship rocket at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Steve Jurvetson on flickr