SpaceX Launched First All-Tourist Crew into Orbit

Ava Stuzin, Multimedia Photo Editor

SpaceX made history on Wednesday night by launching their Dragon Spacecraft, which holds four civilians from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This marks the first mission to space without any professional astronauts on board.

The mission, known as Inspiration4, follows the lead of Jared Isaacman, the Chief Executive of financial services firm Shift4Payments Inc. Isaacman stated the mission has generated $200 million from donations and from him personally to provide to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Joining Isaacman on the flight was  29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, a survivor of bone cancer, who works at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Arceneaux serves as the crew’s chief medical officer and is the youngest American to fly.

Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Air-Force veteran, and Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old geoscientist and licensed pilot also joined the crew.

Semborski and Proctor both earned their tickets onto the flight through contests, while Arceneaux received her ticket onto the Inspiration4 by St.Jude Children’s Hospital in January 2021.

Each of the four crew members have undergone intensive training since the flight’s announcement in February to prepare for the launch with SpaceX. Inspiration4 members studied over 90 training guides, took lessons on how to fly the aircraft and completed numerous simulation flights, lasting as long as 30 hours.

This flight also marks an important milestone in space tourism. The Inspiration4 members plan to participate in a series of on-board medical experiments.  These experiments would help inform future flights to space and scientists could also apply that information to those living on Earth. 

 The crew plans to travel for three days orbiting around Earth before re-entering the atmosphere and making a splashdown off the coast of Florida.