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Billionaire's private SpaceX flight fills final two seats

Billionaire's private SpaceX flight fills final two seats
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A community college professor and a former Air Force missileman will launch into space this fall on SpaceX’s first private orbit flight.

Educator Sian Proctor of Arizona and Air Force veteran Chris Sembrowski of Washington state will join flight sponsor Jared Isaacman in a three-day orbit in space, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Isaacman, the head of Shift4 Payments, a credit card-processing company based in Pennsylvania, is leading the mission, dubbed Inspiration4. He is paying for the flight to space, in addition to raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

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The SpaceX Dragon capsule is set to launch no sooner than mid-September and plans to reach an altitude of 335 miles, higher than the International Space Station, the AP noted.

According to the news wire, Isaacman, a pilot who will serve as spacecraft commander, will not reveal how much he is paying for the mission. He is, however, donating $100 million to St. Jude. Donors thus far have raised $13 million for the charity, mainly through a lottery that offered a chance to join the mission.

Proctor and Sembroski will join Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a physician assistant at St. Jude who was treated there as a child for bone cancer, on the mission.

Arceneaux, who will become the youngest American in space, joined the crew a month ago.

Proctor, 51, who studied geology and has applied several times to NASA’s astronaut corps, secured her seat by being a client of Isaacman’s company — a slot was reserved for one of his customers, according to the AP. Her late father worked at NASA’s tracking station for the Apollo moonshots.

Sembrowski, 41, did not originally obtain a seat on the mission even after donating and entering the lottery, the AP reported. His friend was chosen to join the launch but declined the opportunity for personal reasons, offering the slot to Sembrowski.

Sembrowski, according to the AP, was a Space Camp counselor in college and volunteered for space advocacy organizations.

In November, the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts docked at the International Space Station. The astronauts will remain at the station until April.