The four-person crew of SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 mission is on the way to Florida to prep for an historic liftoff next week.
“Our #Inspiration4 crew has completed astronaut training at @SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, CA and is en route to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final preparations and launch!” the mission team said today (Sept. 9) via the Inspiration4 Twitter account.
Inspiration4 is a private mission to Earth orbit purchased by billionaire Jared Isaacman, the founder of Shift4 Payments. Isaacman will serve as commander; he’ll be joined on the flight by Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski.
The quartet will ride to orbit on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which is scheduled to launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A on Tuesday (Sept. 14) at 8 p.m. EDT (midnight on Sept. 15 GMT).
The Crew Dragon in question is a vehicle named “Resilience,” which also flew on SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station for NASA. But there will be no meetup with the orbiting lab on Inspiration4; Resilience will circle Earth solo for three days, then come back for a parachute-aided splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Inspiration4 crew was announced in March and soon began a six-month training regimen. That work included “centrifuge training, Dragon simulations, observations of other SpaceX launch operations, Zero-G plane training, altitude training and additional classroom, simulation and medical testing,” Inspiration4 representative wrote in a statement last week. “This focused preparation was essential in team development and being ready to execute their role as the first commercial crew to orbit the Earth.”
Isaacman formulated the Inspiration4 plan in part to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Arceneaux is a childhood bone cancer survivor who was treated at St. Jude. She now works at the hospital as a physician’s assistant.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.