Why is this mission important?

As they say at SpaceX, the world is a more interesting place when people are out exploring among the stars. At some point in the future, maybe fifty to 100 years from now, we will be a truly space-faring people –likely with Lunar and Martian colonies. This shouldn’t be surprising, as humans have always been explorers and we have always pushed boundaries in pursuit of discovery, innovation and seeking answers to some of life’s greatest questions. Inspiration4, the first commercial mission to space, may mark the beginning of the next Age of Exploration. Recognizing the historic significance of such the first all-civilian mission to space, we have tried to be incredibly thoughtful as to how we select our crew members and the organizations we partner with. That is why raising funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is such an important part of our mission, because if civilization can journey among the stars, we better have conquered childhood cancer along the way.

What are technical details of the mission?

Inspiration4 will leave Earth from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the embarkation point for Apollo and Space Shuttle missions, and travel across a low earth orbit on a multi-day journey that will continually eclipse more than 90% of the earth’s population.

What qualifies Jared to command the mission?

Jared is a skilled and accomplished jet pilot, rated to fly dozens of commercial, military and experimental aircraft. He holds several world records including a Speed-Around-The-World flight in 2008 and 2009 to raise money and awareness for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He is also the founder of Black Diamond Jet Team and has performed tactical demonstrations at over 100 airshows around the world between 2011 and 2014. Jared will be leading the Inspiration4 Mission aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and is undergoing extensive mission training to prepare for all aspects of the flight. He will be supported by SpaceX mission control for the duration of the journey.

What are the criteria for selecting the other three crew members?

We put together very specific criteria for crew selection to ensure this mission represents our shared duty and commitment to all humankind. As commander, Jared will hold the leadership seat with a focus on best serving the crew and everyone following this mission. One seat will be awarded to someone who has made a difference and inspired hope in others. The other two seats will be awarded to an individual embodying generosity through their support of St. Jude and an entrepreneur embodying prosperity who will be selected as part of the corresponding contest and sweepstakes available at www.Inspiration4.com. Full details around the entry process can be found on the site.

Will the crew be comprised of only Americans?

Yes, this is an American investment and mission, but the crew members will represent every part of what makes this country great – whether it is a long-time small town business owner, an entrepreneur who wants to launch an online business, or a generous individual who has supported St. Jude's mission to save children and find a cure for cancer.

What will the mission cost and who will be paying for it?

This mission has been secured by a private transaction between Jared Isaacman and SpaceX. The terms are not being disclosed. Separately, Inspiration4 has a goal of raising over $200 million dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with Jared Isaacman personally committing $100 million.

What is Shift4’s involvement in the mission?

Shift4 did not invest in the mission, that is very much a private transaction between Jared Isaacman and SpaceX. Shift4 always intended to launch an extensive marketing and promotion campaign of Shift4Shop as a component of the recent acquisition. When Jared shared his goals for giving back to the community via the mission – it became clear that inspiring an entrepreneur to build their business on Shift4Shop was an incredible way to both give back and elevate the platform.

Why spend so much money on space travel when there is such desperate need right here on earth?

Hardship and suffering have unfortunately been present throughout human history, but we can no sooner turn away from the great need all around us than we can put innovation and progress on hold. We have to find ways to do both. For starters, that is why we anticipate raising substantially more funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital than the cost of the mission, so that we can make an impact on the problems of today.

Inspiration4 also represents an investment in the future, so we can solve the problems of tomorrow. We can point to a number of great expenditures, like the Manhattan Project, that ultimately lead to modern nuclear medicine and diagnostic tools that have saved countless lives. There have been a number of significant innovations and recent progress that we can attribute to space travel in our recent history alone, ranging from the health and medical advances such as improved water purification technology, greatly-improved human prosthetics, even bringing the world closer together through SpaceX Starlink program, would have been unaffordable had it not been for investments made years ago in reusable rocket technology.

We have an obligation to tackle the problems of today and make investments so we can live in a better world tomorrow, and Inspiration4 aims to accomplish both.

How do I support St. Jude’s involvement and potentially secure a seat on the mission?

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has set an ambitious fundraising goal to give hope to all kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Your donation will advance the lifesaving work of St. Jude, and for your philanthropic generosity, you’ll earn a chance to win a seat on Inspiration4.

During the month of February, anyone can enter for a chance to win a seat and support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude at Inspiration4.com. In addition, St. Jude will kick off an unprecedented fundraising initiative to raise over $200 million with numerous opportunities for people to engage in the mission and receive access to special experiences, collectible incentive items, flight-related campaign information and opportunities, and more. Jared Isaacman is personally donating $100 million to St. Judes via this campaign.

Why did Shift4 choose St. Jude Children’s Research hospital as a partner and lone beneficiary of this mission?

While there are numerous noble causes, the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, its global impact, and commitment to tackling the impossible was something that really resonated with Jared.

The space mission is named Inspiration4 in recognition of the four-person crew’s purpose to inspire support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and send a humanitarian message of possibility. It is a testament to the infinite possibilities still ahead as St. Jude works to end childhood cancer and life-threatening diseases.

Why did St. Jude want to get involved?

From the beginning, St. Jude has been at the forefront of innovation, seeking to care for some of the world’s sickest children by delivering lifesaving care and treatment regardless of race, religion or a family's ability to pay. This partnership brings together these two important missions to create one incredible moment in time while launching an unprecedented fundraising initiative.

Is St. Jude doing anything scientific on this flight or related to this flight?

More details about the flight will be shared in the coming weeks and months.

What are the other ways for people to get involved with the mission and St. Jude specifically?

With the announcement, St. Jude kicked off an unprecedented fundraising initiative with numerous opportunities for people to engage in the mission and receive access to special experiences, collectible incentive items, flight-related campaign information and opportunities, and more. Visit Inspiration4.com to learn more.

Can you tell us more about the St. Jude passenger and frontline worker?

More details about the crew will be shared in the coming weeks.

Are donor dollars being used to make this mission possible?

No, the seats and associated costs were donated to St. Jude by Jared Isaacman.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

What can I win?

A seat to join Jared Isaacman aboard a flight on a spacecraft which will be injected into low earth orbit for a duration of up to five (5) days, provided by a third company that provides launch services (the "Launch Services Provider"), and tentatively scheduled to take place in October 2021 (the "Spaceflight"). The duration of the Spaceflight will depend on a variety of factors including but not limited to, weather, launch range availability, and orbital mechanics and will be determined closer to the launch. The Spaceflight is tentatively scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on or around October 21, 2021 (such date subject to change at the sole discretion of Launch Services Provider) (the “Prize”).

How will you determine the winner of the St. Jude Inspiration4 Sweepstakes?

On or about 03/01/2021, the Administrator will select the potential Sweepstakes winner ("Potential Winner") in accordance with the Official Rules. The Potential Winner will be selected by random drawing from all eligible entries received by the Administrator during the Sweepstakes Entry Period.

In the event that a Potential Winner is disqualified for any reason, Sponsor may award the applicable prize to an alternate Potential Winner who will be selected by a random drawing from among all remaining eligible entries. Odds of winning the Prize (hereinafter defined) depend on the number of eligible entries received during the Sweepstakes Entry Period.

How do I enter in the Shift4Shop Inspiration4 Contest?

In order to enter the Shift4Shop contest you must sign up for Shift4Shop or be an existing Shift4Shop Customer, and complete the following steps:

  • Utilize the eCommerce tools at Shift4Shop to build your business website and offer products and services for online purchase;
  • Enter into a Shift4 Payments merchant processing agreement, and go-live with your store so that third parties can purchase goods and services on the website;
  • Create a video of no more than 2 minutes 20 seconds that describes your inspirational entrepreneurial story;
  • Post the video on Twitter, including the URL of your Shift4Shop online store and the hashtag #inspiration4contest
  • Complete the entry form sent to the email address used to sign-up for your Shift4Shop account to verify your entry, including a link to the video posted on Twitter.

What if I already have an eCommerce website?

Existing businesses are eligible for entry into this contest. Visit shift4shop.com to learn how we can help you migrate your existing site to Shift4Shop.

Building a great website can take a lot of time. What if my site is not complete during the contest period?

Building a shop on Shift4Shop can be done in minutes – but if you are planning to migrate a more complex website to Shift4Shop, one of our conversion specialists can assist you.

How are entries into the Shift4Shop Contest judged to determine the Winner?

All eligible entries received will be judged by two panels of qualified judges based on the following criteria: (1) inspirational nature of the video, (2) overall entertainment value, (3) virality of video, and (4) entrepreneurial spirit.

The First Panel will review all eligible Entries to determine the top ten (10) entries (“Finalists”). The Finalists will then be judged by a final panel of judges, which includes independent judges who will score the Finalists based on the above criteria.

The merchant that submits the Entry from among the Finalists that receives the highest score will be deemed the potential winner. In the event of a tie, a tie-breaker judge will judge the tied entries using the criteria above to determine the winner. Sponsor will not reveal the judging scores for any Entry.

How long do these promotions last?

The St. Jude Inspiration4 Sweepstakes will last for the Sweepstakes Entry Period which starts on February 1, 2021 at 4:00PM EST and will last until February 28, 2021 at 11:59PM EST.

The Shift4Shop Inspiration4 Contest starts on February 1, 2021 at 4:00PM EST and will last until February 28, 2021 at 11:59PM EST.

When will winners be selected?

Winners will be selected on or around March 3rd, 2021 and will be notified shortly thereafter.

How do I know if I win?

  • St. Jude Inspiration4 Sweepstakes: A St. Jude representative will contact the winner within 72 hours of the selection of the winner via the information provided on the entry form. We expect the notification will happen on or around March 3rd.
  • Shift4Shop Promotion: A Shift4Shop representative will contact the winner via your Twitter account and/or the current email associated with your Shift4Shop account. We expect the notification will happen on or around March 3rd.

What if I don’t respond to the notification or don’t fill out all of the forms required to be completed by the Sponsor?

When you are notified, you will be required to execute and return a number of forms, including but not limited to: Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability and, unless prohibited, Publicity Release. If you do not respond to the initial notification within the time period stated in the initial notification, do not return all required documentation within the time period stated, or are otherwise not in compliance with the Official Rules, the prize will be forfeited and, a runner-up will be notified.

What if I don't pass the medical checks or are otherwise medically disqualified?

Space travel is extremely demanding from a physical and medical perspective. As a result, there are various checks that need to occur for your initial medical clearance as well as throughout your mission training. If you do not pass the initial medical check or are medically disqualified, time permitting, and at the sole discretion of the Sponsor (Inspiration4 or St. Jude’s), you will be permitted to appoint an alternate within your immediate family (for the St. Jude’s Inspiration4 Sweepstakes) or within your business (for Shift4Shop Inspiration4 Contest) to take your place.

If you are the Winner and do not pass the initial medical check or are otherwise medically disqualified and there is not time for you to appoint an alternate then you will forfeit the Prize.

While we cannot provide an exact date, the time period to designate an alternate if you are medically disqualified is extremely limited.

What if I don’t pass the background check?

Any potential Winner will be subject to a background check to help ensure that such person will not bring Sponsor into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule or reflect unfavorably on the Contest, Sweepstakes, or Sponsor, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. If determined in Sponsors’ sole discretion Sponsor may disqualify the potential Winner on the basis of the findings resulting from such background check or the potential winner fails to properly authorize and/or provide the required information in connection with such background check.

If the potential Winner is disqualified by the Sponsor due to the above then you will forfeit the Prize and will not be entitled to any other prize.

What if I am not a US Citizen?

Only legal residents of the United States are eligible to win the Prize. This is due to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) which does not permit non-US Persons to participate in space travel without additional permission from the United States Government.

What costs are covered for the winners?

The costs for the actual Inspiration4 Flight, your travel & lodging to and from training, and the tax incurred by you from the IRS for the approximate retail value of the Prize.

Who are the judges for the Shift4Shop contest?

Judges will be announced shortly after the contest begins.

Can I sell the seat if I win?

No. Time permitting, you will be able to assign your seat to a close family member or someone within your business at the Sponsor’s sole discretion. If you attempt to sell your seat for consideration you will forfeit the Prize.

Can I take cash instead of the trip?

No. There is no cash value to the Prize.

What if the mission never happens?

In the event that the Inspiration4 mission does not occur by December 31, 2022 you will receive the Alternate Prize as defined in the St. Jude’s Inspiration4 Sweepstakes and Shift4Shop Inspiration4 Shop Contest Official Rules..

What if I decide I don’t want to go on the Inspiration4 Flight?

Time permitting and at the sole discretion of the Sponsor (Inspiration4 or St. Jude), you will be permitted to appoint an alternate within your immediate family (for St. Jude) or within your business (for Shift4Shop) to take your place. If not, you will forfeit the Prize.

What will I have to do if I win?

Your participation in the Inspiration4 flight will require a significant time commitment on your part which will include training for spaceflight. You will also need to enter into a variety of legal agreements that will affect your legal rights. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Background Check
  • Medical Check
  • Psychological Check
  • Mission Training
  • You will need to sign: releases, non-disclosure agreements, high risk activity waivers, informed consents, affidavits of eligibility, release of rights to publicity

Please review all of the applicable agreements that are required to be signed by the Winner for complete details.

Are there any physical restrictions to my participation in the flight?

Yes. You must be physically and mentally fit to participate. You also must be under 6’6’’ and less than 250 pounds.

If I buy merchandise from the Inspiration4 Shop do I have a better chance of winning?

No. The St. Jude Inspiration4 Sweepstakes does not require you to purchase any merchandise or make a donation in order to enter. You can enter by going here and filling out the entry form. All proceeds less costs from merchandise sales will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Can an employee, someone related to, a business owned by, or a business owned by someone related to, a St. Jude’s or Shift4 Payments, LLC be the Winner?

St. Jude Inspiration4 Sweepstakes: Employees of St. Jude are not eligible to be the Winner. Employees of Shift4 Payments, LLC are eligible.

Shift4Shop Inspiration4 Contest: Employees of Shift4 Payments, LLC are eligible to be the Winner.

Do I need to donate to St. Jude to enter?

No, the St. Jude Inspiration4 Sweepstakes does not require you to donate in order to enter.

What if the launch is delayed?

Space travel comes with inherent risks outside of the Sponsor’s control which can and often do lead to delays. As a result, we can’t announce the exact date of the Inspiration4 Flight other than it is tentatively scheduled to take place October 2021. In the event the Inspiration4 Flight does not occur prior to December 31, 2022 the Winner will receive the Alternate Prize.

Where can I access the Official Rules?

You can access the Official Rules at Inspiration4.com/rules.

Who can win?

Sweepstakes: The Sweepstakes is only open to persons at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of entry who are US persons as defined under the ITAR and domiciled in the US. Entries are limited to individuals only; commercial enterprises and business entities are not eligible.

Contest: Businesses who are legally domiciled in the United States that are current Shift4Shop eCommerce hosting and merchant acquiring customers of Shift4 or that are eligible to become customers of Shift4 (“Merchant”). If the Merchant is not a current customer of Shift4, in order to be eligible such Merchant must sign-up for Shift4Shop e-Cmmerce hosting and merchant acquiring services prior to entry and maintain its status as a customer through the end of the Contest. Sponsor and Shift4 reserve the right to allow certain prospective customers to be eligible for the Contest if the prospective customer makes a substantial effort to complete the sign-up process for Shift4Shop e-commerce hosting and merchant acquiring during the Contest Period. The individual who enters on behalf of the Merchant must be a designated representative employed by the Merchant who is also a U.S. Person as defined under the ITAR, and 18 years of age or older and will take the space flight if Merchant is determined to be the winner (“Designated Representative”).

What is the target launch date?

In the fourth quarter of 2021.

What is the mission duration?

The duration for this mission will be determined by the flight path and available consumables onboard the spacecraft.

What is the altitude for this flight? Will Dragon fly above or below the space station?

This will be determined as the mission profile is built in the coming months.

What are the physical and psychological requirements for this mission?

Crew members must be able to meet basic physical demands of flight, ingress/egress of the spacecraft, and emergency scenarios. Each crew member will undergo medical screenings ahead of flight to identify and mitigate any risks.

What type of training will the crew need?

The crew will receive training on the launch vehicle and spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, high gravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing. They will go through emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations.

How will the crew be transported to the launch pad?

Similar to other crew missions, the Inspiration4 crew will be transported in SpaceX’s Tesla Model Xs.

Have the Model Xs been modified to support astronaut transportation?


How many windows are on Dragon?

There are three windows; two that are adjacent to the side hatch and one in the forward hatch.

What can the crew control with the touch screen?

In the unlikely event that the autonomous system fails, the crew has the ability to take control of the spacecraft using the touch screens. Additionally, the touch screens provide functionalities such as communicating with ground control, running the audio system, turning on and off the lights, adjusting the temperature, and more.

Will the launch vehicle (Falcon 9) and spacecraft be new or flight-proven?

Similar to SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission for NASA, the Inspiration4 mission will likely launch on a flight-proven Falcon 9 with a previously flown Dragon. Reusability is key to our mission of increasing access to space. SpaceX has recovered a Falcon first stage booster 71 times and re-flown boosters 50 times to-date. In fact, Falcon 9 is the most-flown operational rocket in the United States today.

SpaceX has re-flown Dragons nine times in support of cargo resupply missions to and from the International Space Station for NASA. Reusability and refurbishment of Dragons have allowed SpaceX to gather data on flown hardware and afforded us greater insight into our spacecraft’s performance. This data, spanning a decade of flying Dragon missions, has now formed into a wealth of knowledge for human spaceflight missions.

What is the outside of the suit made of?

The white part of the suit is comprised of bleached Teflon and the gray material is Nomex.

What does the suit look like in space?

The majority of the time the suit will look and fit the astronauts as it appears in the photos. The suit pressurizes briefly before lift-off and reentry to ensure it is fully sealed.

Can the suit be used for spacewalks?

No. This is an intra-vehicular activity (IVA) suit designed for use inside Dragon.

What does the spacesuit protect the crew from?

The suit’s primary function is to protect the crew in the event of a cabin depressurization. If that were to occur, the suit would inflate to provide a habitable environment long enough for the crew to return home. The flame-resistant materials on the outer layer also protect the crew in the event of a fire.

Does the spacesuit protect the crew from radiation?

Since the suit is an intra-vehicular activity (IVA) suit, it is only meant to be worn inside Dragon and additional radiation protection is not required or necessary.

How long does it take to put on the suit?

Less than 15 minutes.

Will any cargo fly on Dragon as part of this mission?

Traveling weightless at over 17,000 miles per hour, the crew will conduct experiments designed to expand our knowledge of the universe, specifically with the goal of supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's mission to eradicate pediatric cancer. Crew Dragon’s 365lbm cargo capacity will be allocated for both crew essentials as well as scientific equipment dedicated to micro-gravity research and experimentation. Inspiration4 is committed to assigning the maximum possible mass towards this valuable research, providing access to space for inspiring projects that are otherwise unable to overcome the high barriers of traditional space-based research.

What are the launch weather constraints?

As with other launches, the launch team will be assessing day of launch winds (both ground and upper level), cloud thickness and lightening. Unique to crew launches is the down range abort capability, and additional weather considerations such as local wind and wave conditions (wave height and wave period) will be reviewed for acceptable landing conditions for Dragon should an escape need to be performed.

Who and how many people will be at the pad helping the crew get strapped in? Are there any NASA personnel present?

The SpaceX Dragon vehicle closeout team and SpaceX suit specialists will be at the pad to help the crew get strapped in, a group of about 8 people.

How does SpaceX test its software for Dragon Missions – and for crew missions in particular?

SpaceX uses intense hardware-in-the-loop testing, with multiple test bed and full sets of flight hardware to make sure the software does what it is supposed to do.

What upgrades were made to Falcon9 and Dragon to make them suitable for human spaceflight?

SpaceX had to prove a high degree of fault-tolerance, meaning that small failures in the system would not lead to mission failure, to make it suitable for human spaceflight and pass NASA certification. Falcon 9 was already able to handle engine failure, but new emphasis was put on making sure that a failure throughout any phase of launch would not mean mission failure. This goes all the way down to latches, control valves, electronics, wiring, and more.

Which SpaceX Control Center does what during the countdown and ascent? Do SpaceX personnel at Firing Room 4 handle the countdown through launch? And when does Hawthorne take over?

Firing Room 4 at Kennedy Space Center controls the launch activities of Falcon 9 and the ground systems. Mission Control in Hawthorne will control all Dragon activities.

What is the mission timeline when loading crew? When do they board? When do we start fueling?

The timeline will be similar to other crew missions. About 4 hours before launch, the crew will don their suits. SpaceX spacesuit techs will perform suit leak checks in parallel.

About 3 hours before launch, the crew will be transported to the pad and will ascend the tower. The crew will enter the spacecraft about 2 hours and 30 minutes before liftoff.

The countdown from then on will look similar to other crew missions:


  • T-45:00 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
  • T-42:00 Crew access arm retracts
  • T-37:00 Dragon’s launch escape system is armed
  • T-35:00 RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins
  • T-35:00 1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins
  • T-16:00 2nd stage LOX loading begins
  • T-07:00 Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch
  • T-05:00 Dragon transitions to internal power
  • T-01:00 Command flight to being final prelaunch checks
  • T-01:00 Propellant tank pressurization to flight pressure begins
  • T-00:45 SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
  • T-00:03 Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
  • T-00:00 Falcon 9 liftoff

Will SpaceX land Falcon 9’s first stage on a droneship or at LZ-1?

SpaceX will land Falcon 9 on a droneship.

Why did SpaceX switch to body-mounted solar panels from the solar arrays that Dragon 1 has?

Having the solar panels body-mounted is fundamentally simpler because there is no deployment, as there is with Dragon 1.

What temperatures can the spacecraft endure? Is the pica shield technology the same as is used on dragon 1?

Throughout the mission, the interior of the capsule will be 65 to 85F.

On orbit, when the spacecraft is not exposed to the sun, the exterior temperature can be as cold as approximately -100C. Upon reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere, the surface of Dragon heat up to approximately 3,000F.

The PICA tiles on Dragon 2 largely use the same technology as flown on Dragon 1, but slight modifications in the chemistry have been made to increase efficiency.

Does Dragon have an external light for night splashdowns or search and rescue?

Yes, the spacecraft is equipped with 3 external lights used for spotting on final approach to ISS and also for recovery/rescue.

At what altitude before splashdown do drogue chutes deploy?

Drogues deploy at about 18,000 feet.

At what altitude before splashdown do main parachutes deploy?

Mains deploy at about 6,500 feet.

At what speed does Crew Dragon impact the ocean?

Touch down velocity is approximately 24 feet per second.

Where will Dragon splashdown? Are there backup locations?

SpaceX identifies de-orbit opportunities and associated splashdown locations off the coast of Florida within a given return window comprising several primary and alternate landing site options. Dragon has the capability to execute a unique series of orbit-lowering maneuvers using its Draco thrusters to line up its ground track for each primary location and maintain the capability to change to alternate sites in free-flight as weather constraints dictate.

Can the crew manually jettison the trunk on return?

No, in a nominal reentry or abort the trunk is jettison by the flight computer.

What is the role of each recovery vessel in splashdown operations?

Immediately after splashdown, two SpaceX fast boats with personnel deploy from the main recovery ship. The first boat checks capsule integrity and tests the area around the Crew Dragon for the presence of any hypergolic propellant vapors. Once cleared, the personnel on the boats begin preparing the spaceship for recovery by the ship. The second fast boat is responsible for safing and recovering Dragon’s parachutes, which have at this point detached from the capsule and are in the water.

Once the main recovery vessel moves in, it hoists Dragon onto the main deck where is quickly moved to a stable location for the hatch to be opened. Medical professionals are on-hand to conduct initial checks and assist the crew. This entire process takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes, depending on spacecraft and sea state conditions.

How far away from target splashdown location are they staged before they move in?

Approximately 3 miles.

In the era of COVID-19, what measures is SpaceX taking to protect the crew while they train at SpaceX?

SpaceX has extensive protections in place, similar to the formal quarantine process that begins at L-14 days, and their in-house flight surgeon has been working to ensure we are doing everything possible to maintain a safe environment.

The crew training center is quarantined, restricting access to only a few critical training personnel. All personnel require daily temperature checks and wear personal protective equipment—including gloves and masks—and the area is cleaned twice daily. These provisions have had demonstrated success in places such as hospitals.

Are there any concerns the crew will not be able to control the spacecraft in the case of an emergency?

SpaceX engineers developed the spacecraft’s control system, which includes touch screens and physical manual control options with robust fault tolerance. The touch screens are tuned to operate with and without gloves to high reliability, and they have been thoroughly tested during hundreds of hours of training and joint simulations with crew in both suited and non-suited situations with no issues.

How safe is this for non-NASA astronauts? Why isn’t a NASA astronaut joining?

SpaceX designed, manufactured, tested, and has flown multiple missions with one of the safest, most-advanced human spaceflight systems ever built.

In 2020, SpaceX returned America’s ability to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station for the first time since Shuttle’s last flight in 2011. In addition to flying astronauts to space for NASA, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft was designed to also carry commercial astronauts to Earth orbit, the space station or beyond.

Once in free-flight, the Dragon spacecraft – monitored by operators in SpaceX mission control – will orbit the planet every 90 minutes along a customized flight path. Upon conclusion of the multi-day journey, Dragon will reenter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida.

The crew will receive training by SpaceX on the launch vehicle and spacecraft, orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, high gravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing. They will go through emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial and full mission simulations.

Prior to flying NASA astronauts as part of the Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX put every component of every system through its paces, including two flight tests to and from the International Space Station, demonstrations of Dragon’s escape system both on the launch pad and in-flight, over 700 tests of the spacecraft's SuperDraco engines, more than 500 joint soft-capture docking tests to validate the performance of Dragon’s docking system design, about 8,000,000 hours of hardware in the loop software testing, and nearly 100 tests and flights of Dragon’s parachutes to ensure a safe landing back on Earth—in addition to all of the knowledge gained from twenty one previous successful cargo resupply missions to the space station and over 100 Falcon 9 launches.

Launched atop Falcon 9 on May 30, 2020, Crew Dragon's second demonstration (Demo-2) mission to and from the space station restored human spaceflight to the United States for the first time in almost a decade. That flight was the culmination of years of development, testing, and training—all throughout safety remained SpaceX’s top priority.

The Demo-2 mission was also the final major test milestone for SpaceX’s human spaceflight system to be certified by NASA for operational crew missions to and from the International Space Station – the first commercial system in history to achieve such designation. Not since the certification of the space shuttle nearly 40 years ago has NASA certified a spacecraft, rocket, and ground support systems for regular flights with astronauts

What happens if something goes wrong during launch?

In the unlikely event of an emergency on the pad or during ascent, Dragon’s eight SuperDraco engines can power the spacecraft and crew half a mile away from the launch vehicle in less than eight seconds.

In January 2020, SpaceX demonstrated Crew Dragon's in-flight launch escape capability to reliably carry crew to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency on the launch pad or at any point during ascent. SpaceX has completed over 700 tests of the spacecraft's SuperDraco engines, which fired together at full throttle accelerate the vehicle more than 400 mph.

Win a Seat on Inspiration4 Sweepstakes:: No Purchase/Donation necessary. Open to legal US residents, 18+. Shift4Shop Inspiration4 Contest:: Open only to Shift4Shop eCommerce hosting and merchant acquiring US customers of Shift4 Payments, LLC; businesses that are customers of Shift4 and the individual who enters on behalf of the business must be a legal US resident, 18+. Both promotions start 4:00PM ET 2/1/21, end 11:59 PM ET 2/28/21. Winner of each must be physically & psychologically fit for training and spaceflight, and must meet the requirements to be admitted into related government facilities. See *Official Rules* for complete details void where prohibited.