Elon Musk's all-civilian SpaceX orbit set to launch tomorrow

The Inspiration4 crew will be the first non-professional astronauts to make a three-day orbit of Earth.

Inspiration4, the first “all-civilian” crew spaceflight courtesy of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is set to launch tomorrow evening at 8:02 p.m. ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, beginning an approximately 357-mile-high, three-day orbit of Earth. The event has been hyped for months by Musk and his private space company’s PR, not to mention Netflix’s multi-episode docu-ganda series that premiered on September 6.

Although touted as a charity event benefiting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, it’s sort of hard to see it as much else other than a means to build public support for Musk’s company as it seeks to cement its hold on the future of private spacefaring — something SpaceX seems to be accomplishing pretty well.

Despite Jeff Bezos’ best efforts, Musk’s company is set to be NASA’s official partner for American astronauts’ upcoming return to the moon tentatively set for 2024... although that’s realistically gonna get pushed back because of the former Amazon CEO’s current legal temper tantrums.

An official livestream of tomorrow’s Inspiration4 launch is set to start a few hours before liftoff.

Inspiration4: Coming to NBC Tuesday nights this Fall!SpaceX

A new challenger appears — Although SpaceX is one of the longest-running and most recognizable private space companies right now, that doesn’t mean the field isn’t getting more crowded with newcomers looking for a piece of the industry. Most recently, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak teased Privateer Space, his own cosmic voyaging enterprise with vague, buzzword-laden ambitions judging from its one-minute announcement video. Apart from a clunky website with a broken contact form, we don’t know much else about Privateer or its plans for taking on big names like SpaceX and Blue Origin, although Wozniak promised more information to come at the AMOS tech conference in Hawaii later this week.