After months of publicity, an NFT auction and even a Netflix docuseries, it’s finally here: the four-person crew of Inspiration4 will be heading to space today (weather permitting).
What makes this launch different from any that came before it? None of the four people onboard are astronauts. The mission marks the first time that an all-civilian crew will fly to space. Let’s meet them:
- Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire whose fortune comes from the payment processing company Shift4 Payments, which went public in the summer of last year. He is the mission commander.
- Sian Proctor, a community college professor with a PhD in science education. Proctor was among 47 finalists chosen by NASA for a 2009 astronaut class, though she was not one of the nine eventually chosen to join the agency. She will be Inspiration4’s pilot, the first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft. She’s 51.
- Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude’s Research Hospital and a survivor of childhood cancer. She’ll be the crew’s health officer.
- Christopher Sembroski, a data engineer for Lockheed Martin, also a former camp counselor at none other than Space Camp. The 42-year-old will be acting as mission specialist.
The crew will be cruising to orbit inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which will launch from a Falcon 9 rocket. They’ll spend three days flying around the Earth before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
SpaceX’s YouTube channel is hosting a live launch webcast starting from 3:45 PM EST, with the five-hour launch window opening at 8:02 PM EST. As of Sunday, Inspiration4 said weather conditions at Kennedy Space Center looked 70% favorable. There’s also a back-up launch window opening at the same time the following day.