During Inspiration 4’s “Meet the Crew” event earlier today, we were properly introduced to each of the four individuals who will be representing the best qualities of humanity as they fly to orbit as soon as September of this year.
The crew Inspiration 4 was joined by Benji Reid, the Senior Director of Human Spaceflight Programs at SpaceX. They sat inside the SpaceX hangar at historic Launch Complex 39A, directly beside two Falcon 9 boosters. These are notable boosters; B1061, which launched Crew 1 last year and will be launching Crew 2 later this year, as well as B1051, which is a fleet leader at 9 launches and landings.
When Inspiration 4 was first announced, we knew that Jared Isaacman would be in the first of the four seats as both the commander and benefactor; representing Leadership. He is joined by Hayley Arceneaux, representing Hope. Having overcome bone cancer as a child, she now works at Saint Jude Children’s Hospital as a Physician Assistant with patients fighting leukemia and lymphoma. Earlier today, the final two crew members were announced.
Chris Sembroski will be flying in the generosity seat. Interested in space and rocketry from a young age, he worked as a Space Camp counselor conducting simulated space shuttle missions. While in the Air Force, he served active duty in Iraq and maintained Minuteman III ICBM’s. With a degree in Professional Aeronautics, he currently works in the aerospace industry.
Dr. Sian Proctor will be in the prosperity seat. As a science communicator and finalist in the 2009 Astronaut program, Dr. Proctor grew up alongside the space program. Her father worked in the Apollo program and she has been on four analog astronaut missions. With multiple degrees, she has worked as a professor and currently works as an Educational Resource coordinator.
From Phone call to Flight
During the event, the crew talked about what it was like to get that first call and learn that they would be able to join the crew. Dr. Proctor compared the life-changing moment she learned she was selected to join the crew of Inspiration 4 to the moment in Harry Potter when Harry learns he is a wizard. She was shocked and in awe to learn the news. She also talked about how upon learning she was selected, friend and astronaut Scott Parazynski congratulated her and offered to advise and provide assistance to the team.
When Chris Sembroski first joined the zoom call, he believed he was a part of a much larger pool of applicants for pre-verification. He said it was, “a moment of shock, you didn’t have any great reaction from me there, they haven’t seen me react until a few days later when we started through some initial training and taking tours at SpaceX.”
Unlike the other crew members, Hayley Arceneaux had not applied to join Inspiration 4, in fact, she had not even heard of the mission until she was asked to join the crew. As an employee at St. Jude, she was invited to join Jared Isaacman before the mission was publicly announced. She gave an immediate yes, and said, “I remember getting off the phone, and my hands were just shaking, it was just so exhilarating.”
With 6 months of training ahead, the crew will certainly be prepared for launch. They reiterated multiple times that they will not compromise safety on this mission. Some aspects of the training will include a variety of centrifuge training for both normal and abnormal conditions, microgravity and high gravity training, egress and ingress training, emergency preparedness training, and full mission simulations.
Launching no earlier than September 15th, the three-day mission will be on a flight-proven Falcon 9 booster and using the Dragon Capsule Resilience that launched on Crew-1 and is currently docked to the International Space Station. The mission will reach a maximum altitude of 540km; higher than any crewed mission since the servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope. Despite using the same Dragon capsule, this flight will feature a new window, in place of the docking adapter. This will provide the crew with a much wider field of view out of the Dragon capsule.
During the three-day flight, the crew may conduct scientific experiments for various organizations that will be shared at a later date. They have opted to follow the same 51.6-degree inclination of the International Space Station to make use of the same contingency splashdown locations and ground supports systems.
This first fully commercial spaceflight is a step towards the future; a future where anybody can enjoy a trip to space.
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