Photo courtesy of: TODAY
Early this morning the announcement was made for the final two members who will be launching to space aboard the Inspiration 4 mission in September of this year. Climbing into a SpaceX Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket the four members will spend a few days in orbit around the Earth before splashing down off the Florida coast. This will be the first time every day citizens will fly a commercial craft to space and back, the participants will receive commercial astronaut training via SpaceX along with emergency preparedness training and other stress testing to make ready the adventurers.
Billionaire Jared Isaacman first announced his mission, and plan to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with himself going to orbit and that he would be bringing along three civilians with him. There was a few minor stipulations to earn a seat however. First, the Hope seat, which would be given to some one helped by St. Jude’s and now helps back. Next would be the Generosity seat, where an civilian who donated ten dollars or more would be able to win. Lastly, the Prosperity seat. Entrants had to sign up for Isaacman’s Shift4shop ecommerce platform and post their inspirational business startup story on social media to be selected by a celebrity panel to win that spot. The Inspiration 4 mission raised over 113 million dollars as more than seventy-one thousand people donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Isaacman more than reached his goal of giving 200 million dollars total to the organization. Now that we’ve learned about more about the mission, lets meet the crew.
Jared Isaacman, the leader of the mission and funding behind it all. He’s 38yrs old and the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a Pennsylvania based payment processing company. He is also a civilian pilot and space lover. Along with Paying SpaceX the cost to launch into space he personally donated 100 millions dollars to the charity with the hopes of raising another 100 million from participants hoping to reach orbit.
Our second crew member is the cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux. When she was 9yrs old her family took a trip to the Houston Space Center and she quickly fell in love with the thought of becoming an astronaut. Her brother too, who is currently an aerospace engineer. But when she was 10yrs old Hailey had part of her left knee and thigh removed at St. Jude’s in Memphis, dashing any hopes of her becoming an astronaut. After her recovery she set her sights on a different dream, she wanted to come back to St. Jude, but wearing a name badge, She studied to become a physicians assistant along with majoring in Spanish to help Latin families in need. That’s just what she did as well, Hayley currently works with leukemia and lymphoma patients at the hospital. She will also be the youngest American to fly into space and the first human with a prosthetic to do so.
Our third member, one of two announced this morning is Chris Sembroski. Chris, 41yrs old is a former camp counselor at the Kennedy Space Centers “Space Camp” and currently works for Lockheed Martin in Seattle. He won the Generosity seat where he beat out the over seventy-one thousand donors. Also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force he used to maintain Minuteman III ballistic missiles during his service and has been a longtime advocate of space. “Although I’ve been fortunate to have spent years in the aerospace industry, I never imagined having the opportunity to reach the stars, especially through something as simple as supporting St. Jude,” he said in a statement from Inspiration 4.
Our fourth and final member of the Inspiration 4 crew is Dr. Sian Proctor, 51yrs old, who is an entrepreneur, educator and trained pilot, and was once almost an astronaut before. In 2009 she was a finalist in NASA’s astronaut class. Currently she is a geoscience professor at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, AZ. She won the Prosperity seat where she beat out almost two hundred entrants who have a Shift4shop ecommerce platform and entered a video compelling the celebrity panel to chose her above the rest.