In just one month Spacex will go down in history with Inspiration4 – the world’s first fully civilian space flight – the mission crew was incredibly excited.
On September 15, four people will become astronauts when wearing their seat belts at SpaceX. Dragon Crew capsule and take off from planet earth. The crew, led by New Jersey billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman (who funded the flight), will make history with Inspiration4, the first crewed space flight to travel around Earth without professional astronauts on board. And since the team was selected earlier this year, they’ve worked hard to prepare for this moment, which is just a few weeks away.
“I’m very excited,” crew member Hayley Arsenault told Space.com in a recent interview.
Connected: Meet the winning Inspiration4 team
New crew prepares for launch
Inspiration4 will fly with Isaacman under the command of a crew that will include 29-year-old Arsenault, St. Jude’s assistant physician and childhood bone cancer survivor from Louisiana; data engineer Chris Sembroski from North Carolina; geologist, scientific communicator and artist Sian Proctorwho was also a professor at South Mountain Community College in Arizona.
Isaacman uses travel to and from space to raise awareness and funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And these future astronauts can’t wait.
“I was very lucky in my life,” Isaacman said. previously told Space.com… “You really won’t get into a position where I’m lucky enough not to get in your direction a couple of times,” he said.
“These families [at St. Jude] terrible hands were inflicted. They go through things that no one should ever go through. It’s a huge heartache, and it’s sad that many of these kids won’t grow up to [have] any experience I have been fortunate enough to have in my life. We just have to do something about it. “
During the flight, the future astronauts will enter orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, orbit the Earth for three days, and then return to our home planet. To do this, they trained for several months, including an early trip as they worked on crew cohesion with a group trek to Mount Rainier in Washington, and have continued to push forward ever since.
“Many of them were academics and trained on their own,” added Arsenault, the mission’s medical officer, “really studying the nominal mission overview and all the intricacies of our spacecraft. And besides, we went through a typical cosmonaut training with centrifuge training, we are going to do a survival training in water and pressure chamber. “
Most recently, the crew was given the opportunity to practice on the fighter as part of ongoing training that will continue until takeoff next month.
“By far one of the best parts @ inspiration4x #AstronautTraining is flying, and although our rocket will fly much faster, it gives us the opportunity to gain situational awareness in a complex, fast moving fighter, ”said Proctor, who will be the mission pilot. on twitter…
By far one of the best parts of @ inspiration4x #AstronautTraining is flying, and while our rocket will fly much faster, it gives us the opportunity to gain situational awareness in a complex, fast-moving fighter jet. https://t.co/JBWXZXxTG9August 10, 2021
As part of the training on the fighter, the crew also approved their “call signs” – nicknames that pilots and astronauts use when communicating in flight. Sembroski is Hanks, Proctor is Leo, Isaacman is Rook, and Arseneau is Nova.
The excitement grows
But while the crew has worked hard to learn and train, they still share their excitement about their upcoming space travel.
“There are so many things that excite me,” said Arsenault. “Of course, having experienced a zero gravity environment and swimming, and the moment I first see Earth from space. But what I really look forward to the most is that we’re going to call St. Jude’s patients from space.”
Arseno now works as a medical assistant at St. Jude’s hospital, but was a patient there as a child. Now, having survived bone cancer, she will not only call children to St. Jude from space, but will also go down in history as the first person with a prosthetic body part to reach space.
“It will be so much fun for our kids to see someone who is in their place, grow up and fulfill their dreams, and then know they can do the same,” she said.
“All I have ever wanted to do since I was 10 was to work in St. Jude. And that’s why I never thought that I would become an astronaut, ”she added. “Until now, astronauts have really had to be physically flawless. And I don’t fall into that category. I have a metal rod in my leg since they saved my leg … I just feel so honored that I’m making my way. “
“You have a great humanist who represents our mission and spirit of hope,” Isaacman said. previously told Space.com about Arsenault and her work as a foremost healthcare professional.
In fact, as part of a recent crew training on a fighter jet, Arsenault checked her prosthesis. “Wrote to my orthosurgical surgeon that my internal prosthesis is officially 8 G! #cancersurvivorscan, “Tweeted Arsenault after flight training.
Connected: A behind-the-scenes look at the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule (photos)
The rest of the team, all from different walks of life, are equally excited and want to experience space for the first time and then share their stories and travel experiences with the planet when they return.
“This is what you have dreamed of all your life,” proctor. said Space.com in an interview.
For Sembroska, this experience was a little hard to believe, mainly because he was not originally supposed to fly Inspiration4. Sembroski joined the team for a non-profit fundraising campaign in St. Jude, in which the lucky winner of the competition was offered a seat on a flight. The person whose donation originally won the seat gave it to Sembroski’s friend.
“It’s so, so incredibly pleasant and amazing. I feel so happy that I was given so much generosity to make this all happen, ”Sembroski told Space.com in a separate interview.
With just a month left before launch, the crew said it was finally sinking. They go into space.
“This realization really struck me when I opened [mission gift] bag, pulled out the mission patch and just held it in my hands for a few minutes, ”Sembroski said. just saw a prank on a computer screen. “
He added that the reality of this mission and what it means actually began to be realized when he met Proctor and saw her passion for space manifest in preparation for the mission.
“She won,” he said, “based on her heart and her cosmic art, not just her experience and resume. You know, she did all these amazing things, but … winning her seat was about nothing and nothing. her resume, it was fair, she allowed her true passion to manifest … her love for space and art. “
“I think it really touches the heart of the mission,” he added. “Inspire others to follow these dreams.”
The crew will take off aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA Space Center. Kennedy in Florida. The launch, which is currently being documented for the series on Netflix, is scheduled for no earlier than September 15th.
Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@ or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.