SpaceX's All-Civilian Inspiraton4 Crew Is Training For The Upcoming Space Tour

SpaceX's All-Civilian Inspiraton4 Crew Is Training For The Upcoming Space Tour

Featured Image Source: Inspiration4

SpaceX plans to launch the first all-civilian crew to space from the Kennedy Space Center later this year, no earlier than September 15. The mission, known as ‘Inspiration4,’ is funded by Shift4Payments founder Jared Isaacman with the objective to inspire the public to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Inspiration4 crewmembers were selected to represent some of the most beautiful traits of humanity –Leadership, Hope, Generosity, and Prosperity. Isaacman will represent ‘Leadership’ as Inspiration4 Commander. Former St. Jude patient, pediatric cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux will represent ‘Hope.’ She is an oncology physician assistant at St. Jude, she will serve as Inspiration4 crew medical chief during the spaceflight. The final two crewmembers were selected through a St. Jude fundraising raffle and Shift4Shop contest, they were announced last month. Representing ‘Generosity’ is Chris Sembroski, he previously served the U.S Air Force as a missileman. Geoscience Professor Dr. Sian Proctor will represent ‘Prosperity’ and serve as Pilot during the Inspiration4 mission.

The Inspiration4 quartet already initiated training for the upcoming space tour. The crew will liftoff atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon Resiliense spacecraft which will be modified to feature a 360-degree-dome window so they can enjoy beautiful views of Earth in orbit, pictured above. Their space tour will have a duration of at least three days on a modified flight path. "Training will include orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, emergency preparedness, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises and partial- and full-mission simulation," Inspiration4 announced via Twitter. The civilian crew traveled to the National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center in Pennsylvania for their first official astronaut training session. “At the NASTAR Center, the crew underwent centrifuge training to prepare for the various dynamic situations encountered during spaceflight — including launch, reentry, ocean splashdown, and a potential in-flight abort scenario,” Inspiration4 shared in a press release, “These centrifuge profiles were modeled by SpaceX after previous Dragon missions to closely replicate the g-forces the crew will experience during their trip to space.”

“I think the team did great. We came off a big media announcement of our mission and have all been traveling with family,” Isaacman stated. “That is a lot going on and it could’ve provided potential distractions, but the crew was laser-focused during training and performed incredibly well.” Isaacman also shared how the G-forces he has experienced as a pilot are different than the ones he experienced during astronaut training, “Personally, I thought the centrifuge training was incredibly useful and better than anything we can simulate in fighter jets. When you fly jets, you are pulling Gz, during which you are really straining to keep blood in your head and to avoid g-force induced loss of consciousness (g-LOC),” he explained, “In the centrifuge, we were pulling Gx, which is more front-to-back in your chest and doesn’t create vision issues, but is more a feeling of weight on your chest while trying to breath. It’s a different experience.”

“I did a centrifuge at NASA Marshall a few weeks ago and got up to 3 Gs during that ride. It gave me confidence going into our actual centrifuge training,” shared Arceneaux. “Centrifuge training was a great way to kick off astronaut training. It allowed us to feel what we will experience during launch and reentry, and it made us all more excited for actual launch and reentry! I’m grateful we were able to have this unique opportunity and I am now feeling much more prepared for launch day,” she stated.  

“I enjoyed the experience because we got to simulate the g-forces from an actual liftoff and re-entry,” Dr. Proctor stated. “I feel like I have a better idea of what to expect and how my body will respond and that just makes me more excited for the real thing.”

“Centrifuge training was unexpectedly one of the coolest things I’ve done!” Sembroski added, “The SpaceX team provided scenarios during this training that removed any shadow of a doubt that we will be successful getting to and from space. I look forward to getting on with the technical aspects of training, and growing closer with my crew.”

“Overall this was a great simulation of real events to come and also a good opportunity to challenge and create a stressful environment for the team on Earth, before we experience these things in orbit,” Jared said. “I am really pleased.”

Source: Inspiration4

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

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.

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