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The 1st fully civilian crew is about to fly into space: NPR

The 1st fully civilian crew is about to fly into space: NPR

Initially, the SpaceX mission to be launched Wednesday evening will transport four civilians: Chris Sembroski (left to right), Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux.

John Kraus / Inspiration4 / Flickr

For the first time, a group of civilians, four in total, will fly aboard a SpaceX mission set to launch on Wednesday evening.

Flight Commander Jared Isaacman is the billionaire founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments; he will be joined by Hayley Arceneaux, medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Chris Sembroski, aerospace data engineer; and pilot and geoscientist Sian Proctor.

This is the last step in the commercialization of space. Entering orbit, the crew of four will travel further into space than the recent privately funded Blue Origin mission, which had Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos on board.

It has not been revealed how much Isaacman paid to send him and the crew to space.

The mission, dubbed Inspiration4, will help support Isaacman’s goal of raising $ 200 million to help cure childhood cancer. In orbit, the crew will also conduct research “designed to advance human health on Earth and in future long-duration space flights,” according to SpaceX.

The launch is scheduled to take place from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The five-hour launch window begins Wednesday evening. The astronauts will land off Florida about three days later.

How civilians train for space flight

How do civilians train to go into space, you might ask? There is a crossover with the way astronauts themselves train.

As of March, the Inspiration4 crew have completed centrifuge training, simulations, observation of other SpaceX launches, zero-gravity aircraft training, altitude training, classroom training, and medical testing. , according to SpaceX.

“This focused preparation was essential in the team’s development and in preparing for its role as the first commercial team to orbit the Earth,” says the Inspiration4 website.

It’s also worth mentioning that SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft largely operates on its own and doesn’t require much human intervention to operate.

The crew arrived in Florida on Thursday from Hawthorne, Calif., Where they had been training.

Unusual memories will also take flight

Space memories are nothing new. Astronauts collect personal items and bring back pieces of history from the beginning of manned space flight.

But some of the items in this mission are quite unique, and many will be auctioned off to raise money for St. Jude’s:

For the first time, an NFT (nonfongible token) song by the group Kings of Leon will be played in space; 50 other art NFTs will also be present; 66 pounds of hops which, after his return, will be used by Sam Adams to prepare the official beer for the Inspiration4 mission; a ukulele that Sembroski will play on board the spaceship; and a recent cover of TIME magazine of the four crew members.