SpaceX’s civilian Inspiration4 crewmembers are training as hard as astronauts to ride the Crew Dragon spacecraft NET [no earlier than] September 15. It will be the first all-civilian crew to launch to space! The mission is funded by Shift4Payments founder Jared Isaacman to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude Physician Assistant and pediatric cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux will join his space adventure to serve as medical chief, along with Inspiration4 Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor and Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski. They will liftoff atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Pad 39A at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Once in orbit, the civilian crew will enjoy beautiful views of Earth from a new 360-view dome window that SpaceX will add to Crew Dragon.
Our crew of four is getting ready for launch and we want you to be part of our adventure. By helping us support @StJude Children’s Research Hospital you could win exclusive rewards and experiences, including a trip to the #Inspiration4 launch 🚀 https://t.co/9NjUqg0uyR pic.twitter.com/1wsvu6bloN— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) July 12, 2021
The space tour is planned for three days orbiting Earth along a customized flight path, at an altitude of approximately 540 kilometers – the highest altitude humans will travel to since astronauts visited the Moon nearly 50 years ago. The International Space Station is located a bit lower at 408 kilometers. This civilian mission will set the path for the commercialization of human spaceflight and hopefully inspire the public to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman pledged to donate $100 million and hopes the public could help raise an additional $100 million, to support free life-saving medical treatments for St. Jude patients. During the spaceflight crewmembers plan to video call the children at the hospital from space, they could also conduct some science experiments in microgravity while orbiting our planet.
The Inspiration4 crew has been sharing their training journey via social media. Mission Commander Isaacman and Pilot Dr. Proctor have trained with a Crew Dragon simulator at SpaceX headquarters in California to familiarize themselves with the spacecraft’s cockpit. Even though Dragon operates autonomously, they should know how to pilot/control it manually in case of an emergency situation. This week, the crew caught a glimpse of zero gravity! They experienced weightlessness as part of their training for the first time aboard the GoZeroG company’s Boeing 727. The company offers a simulated Zero-G experience aboard the aircraft that flies in a parabolic arc, up and down maneuvers, to simulate a microgravity environment in the cabin. “After 2 weeks on the road…[with] lots of training, sims, launch & splashdown observations, we closed off with GoZeroG experience. Amazing- way better than I anticipated,” Isaacman shared, “Great time with Inspiration4 team along [with] friends & family. Plus flying in old school 727 was pretty cool,” he said via Twitter. Crewmembers shared a collection of photographs of them experiencing weightlessness aboard the Boeing 727, shown below. “Zero gravity for the first time was AMAZING & more special than I could have imagined,” Dr. Proctor said, “A big shoutout to GoZeroG, the SpaceX crew, the Inspiration4 team, & all the family/friends who are supporting our mission. Thank you for helping us get flight ready. #Space2inspire,” she said in a Tweet.
After 2 weeks on the road..w/ lots of training, sims, launch & splashdown observations, we closed off with @GoZeroG experience. Amazing- way better than I anticipated. Great time with @inspiration4x team along w/ friends & family. Plus flying in old school 727 was pretty cool.✈️ pic.twitter.com/ivDM7LEgN5— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) July 13, 2021
Zero gravity for the first time was AMAZING & more special than I could have imagined. A big shoutout to @GoZeroG, the @SpaceX crew, the @inspiration4x team, & all the family/friends who are supporting our mission. Thank you for helping us get flight ready.😊❤️👩🏾🚀🚀 #Space2inspire https://t.co/rtAyE8cUvL pic.twitter.com/PvF6Ft48jY— Doctor Proctor (@DrSianProctor) July 13, 2021
That freeing feeling of weightlessness! Can’t wait to have 3 whole days of zero G 👩🚀 Maybe I’ll run into less walls/ceiling by then?? pic.twitter.com/1clNXqXLRD— Hayley Arceneaux (@ArceneauxHayley) July 13, 2021
Featured Image Source: Inspiration4 via Twitter / GoZeroG
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.