Inspiration4 All Civilian Mission into Orbit
Attention Space Fans.
Space tourism has officially started during this historic summer as three separate companies put private citizens into orbit. The launch of Branson's own Virgin Galactic successfully launched on July 11th, and was soon followed by Jeff Bezo's ride into orbit on Blue Origin’s New Shepherd rocket, July 20th.
Now another exciting moment in the path towards making the inaccessible a little closer to reach today as SpaceX welcomes back an all tourist crew from a three day trip into orbit.
The crew consists of Jared Isaacman (38) Entrepenuer, Haley Arceneaux (29) Physicians Assistant , Sian Proctor (51) Doctorate of Science Education, and Christopher Sembroski (41) Data Engineer Lockheed Martin.
Isaacman started his own company at the age of 16, Shift4 Payments (NYSE: FOUR). He has extensive experience as a jet pilot, including flying in airshows and has gathered a fleet of aircraft used for military training.
Arceneaux was a young patient at St Jude's Medical Center who made a recovery from osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. She recovered to go on and complete school in 2014 (Spanish) and 2016 (Physician's Assistant). She now works at St Jude's and publicity for the mission is generating funds to support the programs there.
Sembroski grew up as an aviation and spaceflight enthusiast, working at space camps and earning a degree in Professional Aeronautics at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He served in the Air Force, including a tour in Iraq. He works in the Aerospace industry in Seattle, Washington.
Proctor is a geoscientist and science communication specialist. She has extensive work as an analog astronaut, conducting astronaut support training exercises and simulations in preparation for Mars Missions. She was also a finalist for the NASA Astronaut program in 2009. She has earned her pilots license and has served as a professor of geoscience for over twenty years.
Lift off occurred on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
Orbital distance for the Inspiration4 for was 570 km (354 mi), with a maximum distance of 590 km (367 mi). For reference, that is farther than the orbit of the International Space Station, which is at 409 km (254 mi).
In addition to the capsule’s protective environment, each crew member is outfitted with an astronaut suit which continuously monitors temperatures and keeps crew members cool. When temperatures reach 29°C (85°F), the suits automatically flush with NitrogenOxygen to reduce temperatures. Helmets are 3D printed and suit material is heat resistant. The gloves are designed to be able to select options on the touchscreen controls and each suit is custom fitted.
While in orbit, crew members reached out to brave heroes in the care of St Jude's medical center, speaking via video conference with young patients who are currently receiving treatment. The crew responded to such questions as the following:
"Are there cows on the moon?"
"How crazy was it going 1,000 mph out of the atmosphere?" (actual speeds are around 17,500 mph)
"Como te peina al cabello en el espacio?"
"What is your favorite space food?"
"Is there such things as aliens in space?"
"Can you fall in space since there is no gravity?"
It should be noted that Commander Jared Isaacman committed $100M to St Jude as the recipient and intends to raise an additional matching value from charitable contributors using the historic flight for public awareness to the Research Hospital's cause in finding treatment for children suffering from diseases anywhere in the world.
Beginning one day prior to the return, multiple phase burns were used to slow the Dragon Resilience Capsule down and decrease the orbital height in preparation for a descent back to earth. A final 15-minute De-orbital burn was used to slow the capsule sufficiently to make a reentry into the atmosphere, with the crew experiencing 3 to 5 G’s in the descent.
The crew landed just after 4:00pm, Saturday making an afternoon splash down in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Florida. Ocean waters were calm and winds were light.
An Atlantic splashdown is an event that hasn't occurred in 50 years. Other splash downs have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in more recent times. The site of landing is selected on a number of variables including weather, wave height, and visibility. Alternate sites are selected as a backup prior to initiating the descent sequence. The flight is fully automated with the crew carefully following along as the flight progresses. At one point before the descent sequence, a crew member can be seen passing the time watching a movie, Mel Brook’s Spaceballs.
Boat crews met the Dragon Resilience Capsule on calm seas and towed it back to the recovery vessel with the civilian astronaut crew awaiting securely in their seats. Once craned successfully onto a dry deck, the crew was able to disembark. They made their exit with celebration and waves, then were examined by medical staff and returned via helicopter to dry land in Florida.
Watch for future mission offerings and begin preparation to book your own flight into space. Inquiries can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org
Initial Publication: 9/18/2021
St Jude Children's Research Hospital Press Release 9/19/21
Image1 "Separation Boosters" Licensed for use
Image2 "Inspiration4 Crew" Public Domain issued by SpaceX
Image3 "In orbit" Licensed for use
Image4 "Falcon9 rocket" Licensed for Editorial Use