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Photo: Inspiration4/John Kraus

The Inspiration4 crew is set to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday evening. The first all-civilian flight to orbit will act as a proof of concept for SpaceX and the broader private spaceflight industry, which wants to send many more people to space in the coming years and decades.

The latest: SpaceX has completed fueling the Falcon 9 rocket. The launch, streamed live via SpaceX, remains on schedule for liftoff at 8:02 p.m. ET.

  • The crew members, who have had about six months of training and preparation, were strapped into their seats inside the Dragon capsule around 5:20pm ET.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What to watch: The four crew members will spend three days in orbit, flying higher than the International Space Station and giving the cupola — a brand new, huge bubble window from SpaceX — a test drive.

  • They'll fly to space in a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Background: Billionaire Jared Isaacman is the brainchild of this mission and the commander of the flight.

  • He originally contacted SpaceX in 2020 to see if he could invest in the company, but he'd just missed a funding round and then offhandedly made a joke about wanting to be a customer — as in fly to space — one day.
  • That day is coming sooner than he expected. The person he was speaking with at SpaceX got him in touch with the human spaceflight program, and they came up with the idea for Inspiration4.
  • Sian Proctor, the mission's pilot, was picked via a reality TV-style competition for entrepreneurs. Chris Sembroski was chosen via a raffle, and Hayley Arceneaux got her seat through her employer, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is also benefiting from a fundraiser associated with the mission.

What's next: After their three days in orbit, the crew will splash down somewhere off the Florida coast within their Dragon capsule.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Go deeper

Sep 19, 2021 - Science

Elon Musk pledges $50 million toward Inspiration4 fundraiser for St. Jude

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk pledged $50 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital hours after the Inspiration4 crew splashed down on Saturday.

Why it matters: The all-civilian spaceflight was created, in part, as a fundraiser for St. Jude to raise $200 million. The mission had received $100 million from billionaire Jared Isaacman, who purchased the flight, and raised an additional $60.2 million before Musk's contribution, according to CNBC.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.