SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 crew returned from space on September 18, after spending three days orbiting Earth aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft. The non-professional astronaut crew only trained for around six months to embark on the out-of-this-world adventure. They became the first all-civilian crew to orbit Earth at a max altitude of 585-kilometers, which is higher than the International Space Station. Inspiration4 crewmembers Shift4Payments founder Jared Isaacman, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Physician Assistant Hayley Arceneaux, Geoscience Professor Dr. Sian Proctor, and Air Force veteran/Lockheed Martin engineer Chris Sembroski, got to see breathtaking views of Earth from that altitude. They are using their new-found fame to fundraise for St. Jude. Inspiration4 Commander Isaacman donated $100 million and made it the crew’s goal to double that amount. Upon returning to Earth, they surpassed their fundraising goal of $200 million thanks to generous donations from the public and a $50 million donation from SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Dr. Sian Proctor shared a video of the crew’s reaction to seeing Earth out of SpaceX Crew Dragon’s cupola for the first time. Upon opening the hatch that leads to the large dome window, the crew smiled from ear-to-ear as they looked at our blue planet in awe. “The moment when me and my amazing crew, Jared, Hayley, Chris, opened up the SpaceX cupola for the first time, a true highlight of the Inspiration4 mission. Make sure you tune into Countdown on Netflix to see more epic moments from space!” she captioned the beautiful video via Twitter, shown below. The Inspiration4 mission has a Netflix documentary series called ‘Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space,’ about the crew’s journey. The crew was smiling throughout their space voyage and looked in awe at Earth.
The moment when me and my amazing crew, @rookisaacman, @ArceneauxHayley, @ChrisSembroski opened up the @SpaceX cupola for the first time, a true highlight of the @inspiration4x mission. Make sure you tune into Countdown on @netflix to see more epic moments from space! @TIME pic.twitter.com/AKmturr9Du— Dr. Sian “Leo” Proctor (@DrSianProctor) September 21, 2021
View of an orbital sunset from Dragon's cupola pic.twitter.com/Fl1fLrXD9o— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 18, 2021
During an interview with NBC reporter Lester Holt, the Inspiration4 crew shared some of their thoughts about the space trip. The crew said that they wished to stay longer in space. “That last view of the Earth from the cupola made me emotional because it was just so awe-inspiring, and I knew I'd be thinking about that for the rest of my life,” Arceneaux said, adding that it was “addicting” to look out the largest window ever flown to space. –“…All you could see was the entire planet…stars and the moon, and that was such a life-changing moment.” The crew embodies some of the best traits of humanity. She represents ‘Hope’ as a pediatric bone cancer survivor who now works at St. Jude, the hospital that saved her life. Arceneaux made history as the youngest American to ever visit space at 29-years-old and the first astronaut with a prosthetic in her left leg. She looks forward to sharing her experience with all of the children at St. Jude to show them that everything is possible and empower them – “If I can do this, you can do this,” she said. “I've had some difficulties in life, but I think everyone has in some way,” she said. “I think everyone has had to overcome something and I just hope that people can look at my story and know that holding on to hope, that there will be better days, is so important.”
Our #Inspiration4 crew took many amazing photos in space during their three-day mission, including this out-of-this-world selfie!— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) September 19, 2021
Jared, Hayley, Sian, and Chris are back home on Earth, but our team is still fundraising for @StJude. Join that effort: https://t.co/NBUL2e3f4x pic.twitter.com/gerXjLbVLY
“Each of us have been changed in a way that maybe we didn't expect," Inspiration4 Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski said, “For me it was being able to see the Earth in a way that made me realize there is so much to see in person. I need to go and find those places and explore more.” Isaacman also shared a breathtaking view of planet Earth from orbit, captured from his mobile phone camera, shown below. "Amazing views from Crew Dragon Resilience’s cupola. Hayley, Sian, Chris & I were so fortunate to have this perspective and we will do all we can to share the experience with the [world]. The Inspiration4 mission to inspire and support St.Jude continues," Isaacman captioned the video.
Amazing views from Crew Dragon Resilience’s cupola. @ArceneauxHayley, @DrSianProctor, @ChrisSembroski & I were so fortunate to have this perspective and we will do all we can to share the experience with the 🌎. The @inspiration4x mission to inspire and support @StJude continues pic.twitter.com/jiZK8hsBJo— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) September 22, 2021
For Inspiration4 Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor the spaceflight was a fulfillment of her life-long dream to become an astronaut. She is a four-time analog astronaut who became a NASA astronaut finalist twice and faced rejection. Now, at 51-years-old she finally traveled to space and became the first Black woman to serve as a spacecraft pilot and the fourth to travel to outer space. Dr. Proctor told NBC that the journey aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon was the best way imaginable of reaching space. “Talking to girls of color, women of color of my experience and even older women, who sometimes think the best part of your life has passed you by as you've gotten older — [shows] you still have lot to learn, a lot to explore. A lot to do,” she said in the first interview the crew participated upon returning to terra. The crew also discussed what moments were more stressful during the flight. You can watch the NBC Today Interview with Lester Holt in the video below.
VIDEO: Inspiration4 Crew On Historic Mission
Featured Image Source: Inspiration4 & 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.