•  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

A SpaceX mission with four private citizens aboard is about to happen. Passengers of the capsule are not professional astronauts and three of them are flying totally for free. Jared Isaacman, a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, booked the Crew Dragon capsule last year and picked three normal folks to ride with him. The first private mission to orbit will happen on Wednesday. 

The Verge writes that Inspiration4 aims not only to launch four regular citizens to space but also to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Particularly this flight as a lot of recent flights to space has a purpose to demonstrate to people who stand and watch from the Earth that space will not stay unattainable for regular citizens for long. Isaacman’s crew includes Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor and St. Jude physician assistant; Sian Proctor, a geology professor, and former NASA astronaut candidate; and Christopher Sembroski, a data engineer at Lockheed Martin.

The Inspiration 4 crew is slated to launch Wednesday at 8:02PM ET atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, buckled inside the same Crew Dragon capsule that nearly a year ago sent a four-person crew of government astronauts to the International Space Station and back. This mission’s destination is about 80 miles higher than the ISS. 

Who is Jared Isaacman? First of all, he is the commander of the flight. Also, Jared is a trained pilot and the founder of a payment processing company. He said that the idea of this flight is to send people to space who are not billionaires. He paid for all four seats on Crew Dragon and dropped the first $100 million of a $200 million fundraiser for St. Jude, a nonprofit research facility and hospital that provides free care to children with cancer.

Isaacman reserved two of the seats for St. Jude — one would go to the winner of a fundraising campaign and the other would go to Arceneaux, who works at St. Jude as a physician assistant in Memphis, Tennessee and will serve as the mission’s medical officer.

Also The Verge in its original material wrote about other crew mates of the mission. So who are these people? Arceneaux, 29, is a childhood cancer survivor who will become the first person with a prosthetic body part to launch to space. Metal rods were placed in the part of her left leg that had a cancerous tumor as a child. Sembroski, the Lockheed engineer, will occupy the seat reserved for the winning participant of the St. Jude fundraising campaign. A friend of Sembroski’s won, but couldn’t go on the trip and passed the ticket to him instead.

The fourth seat went to Sian Proctor, the winner of a contest hosted by Shift4, the payment company owned by Isaacman. Contestants had to create a website using Shift4 software and produce a short video of themselves explaining why they wanted to go to space. Proctor, 51, taught geology at a community college in Phoenix, Arizona and will become the fourth Black woman, and the first person from Guam, to go to space. In 2009, she got close to becoming a NASA astronaut as one of nine finalists in a monthslong, notoriously difficult selection process.

The crew began its training in March, which is seven months before the launch. All passengers went through all challenges we could have seen in films. There was the centrifuge training to get used to the G-forces if lifting off atop a rocket, a microgravity experience aboard a Zero-G flight, as well as weeks of training at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, so the passengers will be familiar with Crew Dragon.

But we can’t rejoice beforehand. If all goes as planned and Inspiration4 will mark the first fully private mission for SpaceX it is still very far from becoming fully accessible to a larger number of people. A seat on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon costs roughly $55 million, and a seat on Starliner is somewhere around $90 million, according to government watchdog reports.

Otherwise, space companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin offer you to join the quick flight to the edge of space only for $450000 (Virgin Galactic) for a seat on its SpaceShipTwo, which flies some 53 miles high for a few minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth’s curvature. Unfortunately, Blue Origin hasn’t announced its prices yet. But still, these price tags are too giant for ordinary people. 

0
0