SpaceX plans to launch the first all-civilian crew to orbit Earth aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft in Autumn this year. The Inspiration4 mission aims to inspire the public to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. One of the crewmembers, Hayley Arceneaux, is a pediatric cancer survivor who now works as a physician assistant in the St. Jude’s oncology unit. She will be medical chief during the Inspiration4 space tour. “Inspiration4’s goal is to inspire humanity to support St. Jude here on Earth while also seeing new possibilities for human spaceflight,” said Shift4Payments founder Jared Isaacman, who funded the civilian mission and will serve as commander. “Each of these outstanding crew members embodies the best of humanity, and I am humbled to lead them on this historic and purposeful mission and the adventure of a lifetime,” he said.
SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew are training for their upcoming spaceflight scheduled 100 days from today, no earlier than September 15th. The spacecraft pilot, Dr. Sian Proctor, has been training with Crew Dragon simulators at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, alongside Isaacman. The fourth crewmember, Chris Sembroski, will serve as mission specialist; He will 'help manage payload, science experiments, communications to mission control.'
100 days to go 🚀 pic.twitter.com/lhXQBuQf74— Hayley Arceneaux (@ArceneauxHayley) June 8, 2021
During an interview with CNBC Television on June 3rd, Isaacman shared that they will launch to space aboard a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket and spacecraft. The Crew Dragon that will support the Inspiration4 mission is the same vehicle that launched SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, Crew Dragon Resilience. Resilience returned the astronauts back to Earth in April and is now undergoing preparations for its second flight. The spacecraft will be modified to provide the crew with incredible 360-views in space while orbiting Earth for three days. Engineers plan to install a glass dome window for the civilian crew to enjoy beautiful views. The glass dome will be incorporated at the top of the capsule where the Space Station docking port is located. The dome window will provide the civilian crew with 360-degree-views of space while they cruise at a 540-kilometer altitude above our planet.
Falcon 9’s first stage booster has landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship pic.twitter.com/AKBKjGAVnz— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 3, 2021
The Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the all-civilian crew is the same one that just conducted SpaceX’s 22nd cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), booster B1067. The first-stage returned from orbit soon after deploying Dragon CRS-22 on June 3rd; It landed on the ‘Of Course I still Love You’ droneship in the Atlantic Ocean, marking the 86th landing of an orbital-class rocket (shown in the video above). “…We are about three-and-a-half months out from the launch,” Isaacman told the CNBC reporter (video below), “In fact, the first-stage booster that you were referencing earlier, that took off to space today [June 3] and landed back on a droneship in the middle of the ocean, well, that’s going to be the same booster that is going to take me and my crew to space,” Isaacman said with excitement. “So, I was very interested in making sure it nailed its landing and it did perfectly,” he added. SpaceX aims to use Falcon 9 boosters in the Block 5 series at least 10 times to reduce the cost of spaceflight. Booster B1067 will also support NASA's Crew-3 launch in October. SpaceX is a leader in aerospace innovation, it is currently the only company capable of reusing orbital-class rockets reliably, setting a high-standard in the industry.
Falcon 9 first stage B1067-1 with vibrant flowers and foliage at Port Canaveral. It was a beautiful day for a booster return.#SpaceX #Falcon9 @PortCanaveral @elonmusk— ΔV Photos 🚀 (@DeltavPhotos) June 8, 2021
📸: Me / @HoverSlamSpace pic.twitter.com/PstfSOImFH
All Images Source: Inspiration4.com & SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.