SpaceX Successfully Launches World’s First All-Civilian Crew into Orbit

by Samantha Whidden

We have lift off! On Wednesday (September 15th) Elon Musk’s space transportation services and communications company SpaceX successfully launched the first all civilian crew into orbit on its Inspiration4 mission. 

SpaceX announced the launch in a Twitter update, “Dragon and the @inspiration4x astronauts are now officially in space! Dragon will conduct two phasing burns to reach its cruising orbit of 575km where the crew will spend the next three days orbiting planet Earth.”

SpaceX also shared a video of the Inspiration4 team preparing to board. “Crew send-off before they make their way to Launch Complex 39A.”

Inspiration4 also updated on Twitter, “After an approximately three-day journey, the #Inspiration4 team will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida.”

According to CNN, SpaceX’s Inspiration4 launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday night. The four civilian passengers onboard will spend a total of three days in their 13-foot-wide crew Dragon capsule free lying through orbit at a 350-mile altitude. That is notably 100 miles higher than where the International Space Station orbits. 

The SpaceX Inspiration4 crew is currently expected to make a return to Earth this upcoming Saturday (September 18th).

Who is Onboard SpaceX’s Inspiration4 Mission?

According to BBC, the SpaceX Inspiration4 crew members are Jared Issacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor, and Chris Semrboski. Each of the mission’s members had six months of intensive training with SpaceX. But the onboard computers will be in control of their Dragon capsule, which SpaceX will handle from Earth. 

SpaceX Inspiration4 was reportedly purchased by Issacman, who is in the credit card payment processing industry. Speaking about going up into space, Issacman stated, “We’ve been going to the space station for some time, and there’s just unbelievable science and research and great contributions that are coming out of there.”

The SpaceX Inspiration4 crew member then said that if we humans are planning to go to the moon again or even go to Mars, we’ve got to get a little outside our confront zone and that “next step” in that direction. “So, that was really the rationale [for our choice of altitude].”

Along with Issacman, SpaceX Inspriation4’s Arceneaux is on the mission after overcoming bone cancer as both a child and adult. She wants to give back to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Issacman previously stated he wants to raise $200 million for the organization. 

Dr. Proctor is a geoscientist and science communicator. She reportedly came close to becoming a NASA astronaut in 2009 but missed out on the final round of selection. Sembroski is a U.S. Air Force veteran and currently works for Lockheed Martin aerospace company. He made a contribution to St. Jude that entered him in the lottery draw for the fourth and final position in the crew.