Meet the World's First Civilian Astronauts

Meet the World’s First Civilian Astronauts

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In this photo provided by SpaceX, Chris Sembroski, from left to right, Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux and Sian Proctor pose for a photo, Monday, March 29, 2021, at the SpaceX launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. SpaceX | AP

The Inspiration4 mission is making history as  “the world’s first all-civilian mission”. The final two civilian crew members were announced on Tuesday after a month-long online competition.

New crew members are Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, and Christopher Sembroski, a U.S. Air Force veteran. The crew will launch in September with SpaceX.

The mission will be led by billionaire Jared Isaacman on a SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft with a Falcon 9 rocket. Isaacman is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and the mission’s benefactor.

The goal of the mission is to raise support for St. Jude Children’s hospital. It has been successful so far with around $113 million raised for the hospital.

 “This opportunity is proof that hard work and perseverance can pay off in unimaginable ways,” Proctor, a crew member said. “I have always believed that I was preparing for something special, and that moment has arrived with Inspiration4.”

The inspirational Inspiration4 trip will last up to last three days in space. It’s planned for the crew to orbit an altitude of about 540 kilometers. This milestone is “further than any human” since NASA’s Hubble space telescope missions.

Meet the Crew

Image Source: Inspiration4 twitter

Hayley Arceneaux, Hope

Last month, St. Jude cancer survivor and physician assistant Hayley Arceneaux was announced as the flight’s first crew member. She will serve as Inspiration4′s medical officer.

Hayley Arceneaux, will make history as the youngest American to ever travel to space and the first with a prosthesis.

Hayley was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 10. Now, she has finished treatment and grew up to work at the hospital that saved her life.. She works as a PA with leukemia and lymphoma patients.

Hayley holds two degrees, a Bachelors in Spanish (2014) and a Physician Assistant (PA) in 2016.

Dr. Sian Proctor, Prosperity

Dr Sian Proctor was chosen as the representative of the Prosperity pillar in the mission. She is a geoscientist, explorer, and science communication specialist who has had a lifelong passion for space exploration. 

Dr. Sian Proctor, Image Source: Inspiration4 Twitter

She conducts activities in simulated space conditions and has completed four missions as an analog astronaut. Despite her experience in simulation, Dr. Proctor has no knowledge of what it feels like to launch into orbit.

Proctor won her spot after competing with 200 entrants in a business competition that was conducted by Shift4Shop. Shift4Shift’s competition was independently judged online.

After winning, Dr. Proctor said “I was more worried that this opportunity had slipped me by and I would never get the chance to go to space, but now here I am and that just shows you never give up because that moment for me is here,” she said. “I’m ready. Just strap me in, let’s go!”

 Christopher Sembroski, Generosity

Sembroski earned his seat as the Generosity pillar of Inspiration4. He generously  donated to the St. Jude fundraising campaign. Mr. Sembroski was selected from a pool of 72,000 entries. As an expert with all things mechanical, he will serve as a mission specialist to help manage payloads and  conduct science experiments.

“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,” Sembroski said.

Chris Sembroski previously volunteered with ProSpace back when he was a college student. Sembroski participated in grassroots lobbying efforts and promoted legislation in Washington DC. His lobbying helped open Space travel and is perhaps the reasonSpaceX  exists.

The US Air Force veteran pursued a career in innovation to monitor and maintain mechanical equipment. He now works in the aerospace industry.

Jared Isaacman, Leadership

Jared Isaacman represents the leadership pillar of this mission. Just as he commanded his Shift4 Payments company, hopefully Isaacman will succesfully prove his leadership to the crew.

Inspiration4 mission commander Jared Isaacman, founder and chief executive officer of Shift4 Payments, stands for a portrait in front of the recovered first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Patrick T. Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

Jared Isaacman, the 38-year-old billionaire founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, leads the Pennsylvania-based payment processing company. Isaacman is the main funder of the mission, he is paying SpaceX for Inspiration4 to make his dream come true along with  three other crew members.

Isaacman, who is no experience in space, is no stranger to the skies. He happens to be an experienced civilian pilot.

“This is a very real moment, but I can’t help but be overwhelmed just thinking about all of the history that came before us here,” Isaacman commented, “That’s what’s going through my mind, like the astronauts climbing into the Apollo missions and Skylab and the space shuttle. It’s just so incredible to be here.”


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