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EXPLAINER: 4 will circle Earth on 1st SpaceX private flight

Photo: Hayley Arceneaux
Photo: Hayley Arceneaux

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — For the first time in 60 years of human spaceflight, a rocket is poised to blast into orbit with no professional astronauts on board, only four tourists.

SpaceX's first private flight will be led by a 38-year-old entrepreneur who's bankrolling the entire trip.

He's taking two sweepstakes winners with him on the three-day trip circling Earth, along with a healthcare worker who survived childhood cancer.

They'll soar 100 miles higher than the International Space Station, aiming for an altitude of 357 miles. Liftoff is set for Wednesday night from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.