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SpaceX launches 4 amateurs on private Earth-circling trip

It was the first time a rocket streaked into orbit with an all-amateur crew, with no professional astronauts on board.
Credit: AP
A SpaceX Falcon 9, with four private citizens onboard, lifts off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39-A Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Cape Canaveral , Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. — CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — .SpaceX’s first private flight has blasted off with two contest winners, a health care worker and their rich sponsor. 

It was the first time a rocket streaked into orbit with an all-amateur crew, with no professional astronauts on board.

SpaceX’s recycled rocket soared Wednesday night from the same Kennedy Space Center pad used by the company’s three previous astronaut flights for NASA. But this time, the Dragon capsule aimed for an unusually high orbit, 100 miles higher than the International Space Station. 

The Dragon capsule’s two men and two women are looking to spend three days circling the world, before splashing down off the coast of Florida.

Credit: AP
In this photo provided by Inspiration4, Elon Musk, front center, poses with the all-amateur crew before departure to Launch Complex 39A for a launch into space, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Standing behind Musk, from left to right, are Chris Sembroski, Jared Isaacman, Sian Proctor and Hayley Arceneaux. (John Kraus/Inspiration4 via AP)