SPACEX has filled every seat on a launch into orbit planned later this year billed as the world’s first all-civilian spaceflight.
A college science professor and an aerospace data analyst were named on Tuesday to round out the four-member crew.
Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski pose for a photo at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, FloridaCredit: Reuters
They’ll join a healthcare worker as well as billionaire Jared Isaacman, who conceived the mission in part as a charity drive.
The civilian astronauts will lift off no earlier than September 15 aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that will orbit the Earth.
The flight is expected to last three to four days from launch to splashdown.
The two latest crew additions were introduced at a news briefing livestreamed from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida by Isaacman.
College science professor and an aerospace data analyst were named on Tuesday to round out the four-member crewCredit: Reuters
The founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Shift4 Payments is forking over an unspecified but presumably exorbitant sum for the trip to SpaceX, which is owned by fellow billionaire Elon Musk.
“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 $100million personally to the institute.
The flight will lift off no earlier than September 15Credit: Handout – Getty
As mission “commander,” Isaacman in February designated St. Jude physician’s assistant Haley Arceneaux, 29, as his first crewmate.
Hayley is a bone cancer survivor and onetime patient at the Tennessee-based hospital.
Announced on Tuesday, Chris Sembroski, a Seattle-area aerospace industry employee and U.S. Air Force veteran, was selected.
The 41-year-old bagged his place through a sweepstakes that drew 72,000 applicants and has raised $113million in St. Jude donations.
The four-man team will orbit the Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsuleCredit: spacex
What is SpaceX?
Here’s what you need to know…
SpaceX is a cash-flushed rocket company that wants to take man to Mars.
It was set up by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk in 2002 and is based in Hawthorne, California.
SpaceX’s first aim was to build rockets that can autonomously land back on Earth for refurbishment and re-use.
The technology makes launching and operating space flights more efficient, and therefore cheaper.
SpaceX currently uses its reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets to fly cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) for Nasa.
It also carries satellites and other space tech into orbit for various government agencies and multinational companies.
The company took astronauts to the ISS for the first time in 2020.
Other future missions involve carrying tourists to the ISS and astronauts to the Moon and Mars.
Musk has repeatedly said he believes humanity must colonise Mars to save itself from extinction.
He plans to get a SpaceX rocket to the Red Planet by 2027.
Sian Proctor, 51, a geoscience professor at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, was chosen separately through an online contest run by Shift4 Payments.
Sian is also an entrepreneur and was once a Nasa astronaut candidate,
All four will undergo extensive training modelled 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.
Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman bought the SpaceX flightCredit: AP:Associated Press
British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic 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.
Inspiration4 is about more than a billionaire’s joyride through space, organisers say, promising the crew will conduct a number of as-yet undetermined science experiments during its brief voyage.
SpaceX is owned and operated by billionaire SpaceX boss Elon MuskCredit: AFP
In other news, Sir Richard Branson yesterday put rocket boosters under his cosmic plans after unveiling Virgin Galactic’s third spacecraft.
The world’s first reality show filmed in space will follow a contestant on a 10-day trip to the ISS in 2023.
And, a Nasa has unveiled a new lunar lander that could put astronauts back on the Moon in 2024.
Would you like to go to space one day? Let us know in the comments!
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]