SpaceX to launch first all-civilian spaceflight on Sept 15

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • SpaceX is set to launch the world’s first all-civilian spaceflight on Sept 15.
  • The mission, called Inspiration4, will fly four private citizens aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft that will orbit the Earth for three days.
  • The four passengers are billionaire Jared Isaacman, cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, former missileman Chris Sembroski and college professor Dr. Sian Proctor.

SpaceX is set to launch its first-ever all-civilian crew to space next week on a three-day journey around the Earth. Dubbed Inspiration4, it will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, according to the mission’s website.

Four private citizens will be tucked inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft when it’s launched into space by Falcon 9 on Sept. 15.

The blastoff will take place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Both the Dragon crew capsule and the reusable Falcon 9 rocket have flown before, according to Space.com. The backup launch date is set for Sept. 16.

The four soon-to-be-astronauts are Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Dr. Sian Proctor.

Their preparation has involved “centrifuge training, Dragon simulations, observations of other SpaceX launch operations, Zero-G plane training, altitude training and additional classroom, simulation and medical testing,” Inspiration4 said in a press release.

Isaacman, who will command the mission, is the founder and CEO of credit card processing company Shift4 Payments and an accomplished jet pilot. The 38-year-old billionaire has not revealed how much he is paying for the flight but has donated $100 million to St. Jude’s.

Isaacman donated two of the seats on the mission, reserving one for “a St. Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission.”

Arceneaux, 29, is a bone cancer survivor and was hired by St. Jude’s last spring. She will serve as the crew’s medical officer. The mission will make her the youngest American in space — beating NASA record-holder Sally Ride by over two years. 

Proctor, 51, is a community college educator in Tempe, Arizona. She nabbed her ticket to space by winning a contest held by Isaacman’s Shift4Shop eCommerce platform that sought inspirational entrepreneurs worthy of being “elevated to the stars.” Proctor is an analog astronaut whose father worked at the NASA tracking station during the Apollo missions.

The second of Isaacman’s donated seats went to Sembroski, 41, a former Air Force missileman from Everett, Washington.

Sembroski’s friend initially won the sweepstakes that raked in more than 72,000 donations totaling $13 million to St. Jude’s, according to Space.com. But Sembroski was tapped to replace his pal, who declined to fly for personal reasons.

Last month, SpaceX sent a shipment of ants, avocados and a human-sized robotic arm to the seven astronauts at the International Space Station.

Source: New York Post

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