Since Elon Musk-owned SpaceX announced that it was aiming for September 15 to launch the first all-civilian spaceflight mission, curiosity has been building about those who have signed up for this potentially historic sojourn. Four private citizens will fly to space and will spend three days there as part of the aptly named “Inspiration4” space mission, also known as the SpaceX Dragon mission. It will be launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida in the US, months after Richard Branson flew to space in his Virgin Galactic spacecraft followed by Jeff Bezos on his Blue Origin vehicle.
SpaceX had made an initial announcement about the mission in March this year. But last week, it said it was targeting September 15 as the launch date. Over the past six months, the crew has focused extensively on training and preparations. This focus was essential to ready themselves as a team to become the first commercial crew to orbit the Earth, the company said.
The Inspiration4 website says the four crew members represent “the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity”. The Inspiration4 crew consists of Mission Commander Jared Isaacman, Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, and Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, as per a press release. They are scheduled to arrive in Florida on September 9 to begin the final preparations for their mission.
Jared Isaacman, the “commander and benefactor”, is the founder and CEO of a fintech company. After starting the company at the age of 16 from a basement, he has built it into an industry-leading payments technology firm. An accomplished jet pilot, he is rated to fly commercial and military aircraft. He has flown in over 100 airshows. In 2011, Isaacman co-founded Draken International to train pilots for the US Armed Forces.
Hayley Arceneaux represents Hope. When Hayley was 10 years old, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. She underwent treatment, which included chemotherapy and limb-saving surgery. She obtained her Physician Assistant degree in 2016 and works at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – the very place that saved her life.
Chris Sembroski, a data engineer and Air Force veteran, represents Generosity. After growing up with a natural curiosity about outer space, Sembroski volunteered with a grassroots lobbying effort as a college student and promoted legislation to help open space travel. He has conducted simulated space shuttle missions as a US Space Counselor and then served in the US Air Force, maintaining a fleet of ICBMs before leaving active duty in 2007. Sembroski has a B.S. in Professional Aeronautics.
Dr. Sian Proctor (Prosperity) is a geoscientist and science communication specialist. Her father worked at the NASA tracking station during the Apollo missions. She’s an analog astronaut (a person who conducts activities in simulated space conditions) and encourages people to use their unique strengths to inspire others. Dr. Proctor was a finalist for the 2009 NASA Astronaut Programme. She has been a geoscience professor for over 20 years at a college in Phoenix, Arizona. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science, an M.S. in Geology, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Science Education.
The lives of the crew will be explored in Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space, a Netflix documentary series that will cover the liftoff in near real-time. It will premiere in five parts leading up to and following the mission.