SpaceX will launch the first all-civilian crew to orbit Earth aboard Crew Dragon in Autumn this year. The mission, known as Inspiration4, could liftoff as soon as September 15 from historic Launch Complex-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Inspiration4 mission is funded by Shift4Payments founder Jared Isaacman who dreams of going to space and decided to invite a pediatric cancer survivor, Hayley Arceneaux, on his space tour to turn the adventure into a massive fundraising effort for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Arceneaux was a former St. Jude patient and currently works as a physician assistant in the oncology unit. Isaacman pledged to donate $100 million to St. Jude and is using the mission to raise awareness and inspire the public to donate more to the hospital which provides life-saving medical treatments free of charge. The other two crewmembers are: Dr. Sian Proctor, who is a geoscientist and science communication specialist, and Chris Sembroski, a data engineer and Air Force veteran.
Please consider supporting my St. Jude fundraising page. Forever grateful that St. Jude saved my life, and St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer 🎗💛https://t.co/dJLlRFNiNm— Hayley Arceneaux (@ArceneauxHayley) June 28, 2021
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will be specially modified so that the quartet has incredible 360-degree views of Earth from space while they orbit our planet for ~3 days at an altitude of 540 kilometers. The new window addition that will enable them to have a 360-degree-view of outer space. The Inspiration4 crew will ride a previously-flown Crew Dragon, Resilience, which launched the Crew-1 mission. SpaceX will modify the spacecraft by adding a dome window atop, where the docking port to connect to the International Space Station is located. The company shared a render of how the window dome addition will look, pictured below.
Image Source: SpaceX
According to Inspiration4 Commander Isaacman, the crew will have incredible views of space from Crew Dragon’s restroom because the window dome location is close to where the toilet is located. –“It's not a ton of privacy. But you do have this kind of privacy curtain that cuts across the top of the spacecraft, so you can kind of separate yourself from everyone else," Isaacman told Insider reporters, “And that also happens to be where the glass cupola is. So, you know, when people do inevitably have to use the bathroom, they're going to have one hell of a view,” he said.
The Inspiration4 crew has been undergoing astronaut training for over four months. They have been sharing photographs of some of their training experiences via social media every month. They already trained at SpaceX headquarters aboard Crew Dragon cockpit simulators to learn how about the spacecraft. Most recently, the crew trained in fighter jet simulators that will prepare them for the high-speed they will experience as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches Crew Dragon to space. “The crew took spins in the multi-axis trainer… and spent some time in fighter jet simulators!” the Inspiration4 team shared, photos below. “During altitude training, we were exposed to hypoxic (low O2) and hypercapnic (high CO2) environments. It provided great insight into each of our various symptoms!” Arceneaux shared, she will be the Inspiration4 mission’s Chief Medical Officer. She also shared that after being subjected to low oxygen environment they were tasked with doing a worksheet, in which they had to write a countdown from 1,000 to see how their brain functions under those conditions, pictured below.
“During altitude training, we were exposed to hypoxic (low O2) and hypercapnic (high CO2) environments. It provided great insight into each of our various symptoms!” — @ArceneauxHayley, #Inspiration4 Medical Officer— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) July 3, 2021
More photos from our crew’s visit to @DukeHealth yesterday. pic.twitter.com/a0yqwGlxwz
Altitude chamber training: ✅— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) July 2, 2021
Thanks to @DukeHealth for hosting our #Inspiration4 crew and the @SpaceX team at the Duke Hyperbaric Medicine Clinic in Durham, North Carolina today! pic.twitter.com/c7dHAQw8MT
… and spent some time in fighter jet simulators! ✈️ pic.twitter.com/rruOOeKQE3— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) July 2, 2021
My worksheet from altitude chamber training. Can you tell when the hypoxia kicked in?? My O2 sat dropped to the 30s and my math skills declined as well 🤪 pic.twitter.com/v5pOlIDObH— Hayley Arceneaux (@ArceneauxHayley) July 6, 2021
Image Source: Inspiration4 via Twitter
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.