Inspiration4 Explained: The First All Civilian Mission to Space

Inspiration4 Explained: The First All Civilian Mission to Space

Inspiration4 is set to make history as the first all civilian mission to space. Launched by SpaceX and organized to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Hospitals, the mission will orbit Earth for three days.

Jared Isaacman, tech billionaire and commander of Inspiration4, purchased the SpaceX flight and awarded the three remaining seats to crew mates that embodied the mission’s values: leadership, hope, prosperity, and generosity. Here’s everything you need to know about this special mission.

Inspiration4 Mission Overview

As the first all civilian mission, the crew will orbit the Earth for three days while raising awareness for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and performing science research that deals with human health for future long duration space exploration missions. While in space the crew will continue their efforts to raise the 200 million fundraising goal they have set for the mission.

Inspiration4 Crew Members

The crew of Inspiration4. Photo: Inspiration4

The entire crew is unique because they are all private citizens and not trained astronauts. While private citizens have flown to space before, they have flown with trained astronauts, making this mission a first. Each crew member embodies one of the four values set for the mission- leadership, hope, prosperity, and generosity.

Commander of the mission, Jared Isaacman, is also the mission benefactor and organizer. Besides being a successful businessman, Isaacman is an accomplished pilot and adventurer. In 2008 and 2009 he set world records for around the world flights, currently performs in airshows with his Black Diamond Jet Team, and operates a private air force that trains pilots for the US Armed Forces.

Hope seat crew member, Hayley Arceneaux. Photo Credit: Inspiration4

Hayley Arceneaux was specifically chosen for the mission because she embodied the mission value of hope. Arceneaux is a former St. Jude cancer patient herself, battling and overcoming bone cancer as a child. Hayley went on to graduate with a degree in Spanish, obtained a Physician’s Assistant degree, and now works with cancer patients at St. Jude.

When the Inspiration4 flight and mission was announced it opened with a raffle competition, and crew member Chris Sembroski drew the winning ticket- almost. Sembroski entered the competition himself, but his friend ended up winning and passed the seat to him. Chris is a former Space Camp counselor, served in the U.S. Air Force, and works in the aerospace industry.

The fourth and final seat was awarded to Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist by day and science communicator by night. Proctor has been sharing her work and passion for space via social media for years, making her a great asset for this awareness driven mission. As an analog astronaut, Proctor has simulated space missions in the HI-SEAS Habitat and was a NASA astronaut candidate in 2009.

Inspiration4 Rocket and Spacecraft

Crew Dragon with cupola observation window. Photo: SpaceX

The crew of Inspiration4 will launch in a Crew Dragon spacecraft on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. As the world’s first orbital class rocket with reusability, the two stage Falcon9 is a workhorse. The Crew Dragon spacecraft supporting the mission is also reusable, and Inspiration4 will be orbiting Earth in Resilience, the same Crew Dragon Crew-1 flew in.

New to this launch is the Dragon observation window in the nosecone. This three layered window has been tested and fitted to the spacecraft, replacing the Space Station docking mechanism.

Crew Dragon will orbit the Earth at over 17,000 miles per hour at about 360 miles above Earth. In addition to the crew, Resilience will carry around 365 pounds of crew supplies and personal items, as well as science equipment for space research. 

Inspiration4 Launch and Splashdown Details

Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX is targeting a five hour launch window starting at 7:02 pm CDT, Wed. 9/15, for the Inspiration4 mission. The Falcon9 rocket will launch from historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

Seven and a half minutes into launch the first stage will begin it’s entry burn and land at the nine and a half minute mark. Shortly after, Dragon will separate from the second stage and then the Dragon nosecone opening sequence will begin.

Fundraising Effort

Photo: Inspiration4

From the beginning Inspiration4 was organized as a fundraising mission, with Jared setting a goal of raising 200 million dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The crew has already raised a significant amount towards that goal, but hopes to reach their fundraising goal with a few auction items they are taking to space with them. Included in the auction items are an NFT song from the Kings of Leon to be played in orbit, crew jackets, a ukulele, and a copy of Time magazine that features the crew.

Follow Cosmic Chicago on Twitter @CosmicChicagoCN for live launch coverage.

Filed under: Explained, News

Tags: Inspiration4, SpaceX

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