SpaceX launched four people to orbit on a private Earth-circling trip in the company's first-ever tourism mission.

Iran PressSci & Tech: A SpaceX rocket soared into orbit Wednesday evening, carrying four people — none of whom are professional astronauts — and kicking off the first-ever mission to Earth's orbit crewed entirely by tourists.

The launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida was dramatically illuminated with spotlights against the night sky, and when the SpaceX rocket's nine engines fired up just after 8 pm ET, it flooded the surrounding wetlands with a blaze of light as it soared into the upper atmosphere and made a dramatic, ghostly light show overhead, CNN reported.

After reaching orbital speeds — more than 17,000 miles per hour — the capsule carrying the four passengers detached from the rocket and began to maneuver toward its intended orbit.

The team of amateurs — which include a billionaire who self-funded the mission, a cancer survivor, a community college teacher and a Lockheed Martin employee — strapped into their 13-foot-wide SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Wednesday afternoon before their SpaceX rocket roared to life and blasted the capsule into orbit.

The crew will remain aboard their capsule for three days as it flies through orbit before returning for a splashdown landing off the coast of Florida on Saturday.


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