SpaceX invites class of 2020 to launch their photos on historic Dragon flight

If you’re graduating this year and fancy becoming a part of spaceflight history, then SpaceX can help.

The commercial space transport company is inviting recent graduates — from kindergarten to graduate school — to submit a selfie to fly on America’s first human spaceflight in nearly a decade.

“If you graduated or are scheduled to graduate in 2020, upload your photo to the mosaic of Earth, which will be printed and flown aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during its upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS) with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board,” SpaceX said in a message on its website.

SpaceX doesn’t say what will happen with the photo mosaic following launch — in other words, whether it will be jettisoned into space, placed in the ISS, or returned to Earth when the Crew Dragon comes back. We’ve reached out to the company for more details and will update this piece when we hear back.

The last time we looked, there were still some slots available on the mosaic, but it looks like you’ll have to hurry if you want your photo included. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 20 at 9 a.m. PT.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the cancellation of most graduate events, SpaceX’s plan is a fun offering for students in this most unusual of years.

In similar efforts aimed at throwing the spotlight on graduates, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, and other famous folks recently recorded commencement speeches released as podcasts as the regular people-filled ceremonies have had to be canceled because of the pandemic.

Facebook also streamed a cast of celebrities headlined by Oprah Winfrey for a special commencement address, while YouTube has persuaded the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to get involved in its own virtual graduation ceremony on June 6.

The upcoming SpaceX mission is a significant one for NASA as it looks ahead to a crewed mission to the moon in 2024. Significantly, it will also mark the end of U.S. reliance on Russia’s Soyuz program, with NASA sending astronauts into space from American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

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