CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - SpaceX has announced the liftoff time for when it plans to launch the world's first all-civilian spaceflight next week, bringing a crew of four people and not one astronaut into space.
Inspiration4 will launch at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15th from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the space company said.
"SpaceX and Inspiration4 will narrow down the launch window to five hours approximately three days before liftoff," the space company tweeted on Friday.
The Inspiration4 crew will board SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule for a multi-day journey, orbiting Earth every 90 minutes along a customized flight path that will be carefully monitored by the aerospace company's mission control. Upon conclusion of the mission, Dragon will reenter Earth's atmosphere for a splashdown off the coast of Florida.
The all-civilian crew consists of Mission Commander Jared Isaacman, Mission Pilot Dr. Sian Proctor, Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, and Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski.
- Isaacman is the founder and CEO of Shift4 payments and an accomplished jet pilot who holds several world records including two Speed-Around-The-World flights in 2008 and 2009 that raised money and awareness for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He also has flown in over 100 airshows as part of the Black Diamond Jet Team, dedicating them to charitable causes. He also co-founded what would become the world’s largest private air force, Draken International, to train pilots for the United States Armed Forces.
- Proctor is a 51-year-old entrepreneur, educator, and trained pilot. She was born in Guam, where her father was working at the NASA tracking station during the Apollo missions.
- Arceneaux is a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she was a former patient who battled bone cancer at age 10.
- Sembroski is a 41-year-old aerospace industry employee at Lockheed Martin and United States Air Force veteran.
After completing astronaut training with SpaceX at its Hawthrone, California, headquarters, the crew arrived in Florida on Wednesday.
While the crew for the Inspiration4 mission is not composed of astronauts, they are still professionals who will complete experiments while in space.
Jimmy Wu, an instructor at the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor College, said that the group he works with will actually collect data from the Inspiration4 team's experiments. It will be sued to help find a breakthrough approach towards human health and the impacts of space on the human body.
"It is not a safe environment for life and so there are things that happen to the body that we have been understanding for the last 60 years," Wu said. He said that they are specifically focusing research on regular people who have a variety of health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, this time around, rather than a typical space traveler, like an astronaut who is top shape.
The crew will conduct three in-flight tests that focus on getting blood samples to test inflammation and changes in the body, a series of cognitive tests designed to record changes in the brain during spaceflight, and a controlled ultrasound that could one day be used by the average person at home.
"A lot of the technology we are working on is about, in the end, about giving [the average people the ability] to manage their own health and to be able to do it without necessarily depending on all the burdens we have of our current healthcare system and going to the doctor and wait times associated with that," Wu explained
The Inspiration4 mission will also raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
A backup launch date has been set for Thursday, September 16th.