Ever since SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, announced it was aiming to launch its first fully civilian spaceflight mission on Sept. 15, curiosity has grown about those who have signed up for this potentially historic abode. Four civilians will fly to space and spend three days there as part of the aptly named “Inspiration4” space mission, otherwise known as the SpaceX Dragon mission. It will be launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center 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 of this year. But last week it said it had targeted September 15 as its launch date. Over the past six months, the crew has paid a lot of attention to training and preparation. This focus was essential in preparing 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, according to a press release. They are scheduled to arrive in Florida on September 9 to begin final preparations for their mission.
Jared Isaacman, the “commander and benefactor”, is the founder and CEO of a fintech company. After starting the company from a basement at the age of 16, he has grown it into a leading payment technology company. An experienced jet fighter pilot, he is qualified to fly commercial and military aircraft. He has flown in more than 100 air shows. In 2011, Isaacman founded Draken International to train pilots for the United States Armed Forces.
Hayley Arceneaux stands for hope. When Hayley was 10 years old, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. She underwent treatment, including chemotherapy and limb-saving surgery. She received her Physician Assistant degree in 2016 and works at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – the place that saved her life.
Chris Sembroskic, a data engineer and Air Force veteran, represents generosity. Growing up with a natural curiosity about space, Sembroski volunteered as a student to lobby and promote legislation to help open space travel. He has conducted simulated space shuttle missions as a US Space Counselor and then served with the US Air Force, maintaining a fleet of ICBMs before leaving active duty in 2007. Sembroski has a BS in professional aviation.
dr. Sian Proctor (Prosperity) is a geoscientist and specialist in science communication. Her father worked at the NASA tracking station during the Apollo missions. She is an analog astronaut (a person who performs 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 program. She has been a professor of geosciences at a university in Phoenix, Arizona for more than 20 years. She has a BS in Environmental Sciences, an MS in Geology and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Science Education.
The crew’s lives are explored in Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space, a Netflix documentary series that will cover its launch in near real time. It will premiere in five parts preceding and following the mission.