New Crew Members Representing Prosperity and Generosity Join Hope and Leadership to Complete the Crew Manifest
Christopher Sembroski and Dr. Sian Proctor will join Hayley Arceneaux and Jared Isaacman on the Inspiration4 mission
The four-person SpaceX civilian crew sponsored by billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman also includes a college professor.
The crew headed to outer space as part of the first all-civilian mission may come from different walks of life, but all have one thing in common: a passion for all things out of this world.
The Inspiration4 mission isn’t set to take off until this fall, but its four-person crew — the final two members of which were announced on Tuesday — is already preparing for liftoff.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch the crew aboard a Dragon spacecraft later this year.
The full crew will be introduced publicly today for the first time from historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Isaacman, founder and CEO of e-commerce firm Shift4 Payments, is forking over an unspecified but presumably exorbitant sum to fellow billionaire and SpaceX owner Elon Musk to fly himself and three others into orbit aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
The flight, scheduled for no earlier than September 15, is expected to last three to four days from launch to splashdown.
“When this mission is complete, people are going to look at it and say this was the first time that everyday people could go to space,” Isaacman, 38, told reporters.
Dubbed Inspiration4, the mission is designed primarily to raise awareness and support for one of Isaacman’s favorite causes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading pediatric cancer center. He has pledged $100 million (roughly Rs. 735 crore) personally to the institute.
Assuming the role of mission “commander,” Isaacman in February designated St. Jude physician’s assistant Haley Arceneaux, 29, a bone cancer survivor and onetime patient at the Tennessee-based hospital, as his first crewmate.
Announced on Tuesday, Chris Sembroski, 41, a Seattle-area aerospace industry employee and US Air Force veteran, was selected through a sweepstakes that drew 72,000 applicants and has raised $113 million (roughly Rs. 830 crore) in St. Jude donations.
Sian Proctor, 51, a geoscience professor at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, and entrepreneur who was once a NASA astronaut candidate, was chosen separately through an online business contest run by Shift4 Payments.
All four will undergo extensive training modeled after the curriculum NASA astronauts use to prepare for SpaceX missions.
The Inspiration4 mission may mark a new era in spaceflight, but it is not the only all-civilian crewed rocket launch in the works.
British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic enterprise is developing a spaceplane to carry paying customers on suborbital excursions.
SpaceX plans a separate launch, possibly next year, of a retired NASA astronaut, a former Israeli fighter pilot and two other people in conjunction with Houston-based private spaceflight company Axiom Space.
Musk also intends to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa around the moon in 2023. Fees charged for those flights will help finance the development of Musk’s new, heavy-lift Starship rocket for missions to the moon and Mars.
About Shift4 Payments
Shift4 Payments (NYSE: FOUR) is a leading provider of integrated payment processing and technology solutions, delivering a complete omnichannel ecosystem that extends beyond payments to include a wide range of commerce-enabling services. The company’s technologies help power over 350 software providers in numerous industries, including hospitality, retail, F&B, ecommerce, lodging, gaming, and many more. The newly launched Shift4Shop platform offers a turnkey ecommerce experience includes a robust website builder, product and order management, customer marketing tools and more. With over 7,000 sales partners, the company securely processed more than $200 billion in payments volume for over 200,000 businesses in 2019.