The four civilians were prepared in just six months before embarking on the Inspiration4 mission, unaccompanied by professional astronauts. It will be three days in space
Chris Sembroski, 42, is a former US Air Force veteran working in the aviation industry in Lockheed Martin’s aerospace division.
Samborski was chosen out of 72,000 participants as he participated in a fundraising campaign for St. Jude, which has so far raised $15 million in addition to Isaacman’s donation.
In the contest, the hospital offered a seat on the flight to a winner.
Dr. Sian Proctor
Sian Proctor, 51, is a geoscientist and was chosen by Isaacman. Proctor, who is also a science communicator and formerly a professor in Arizona, narrowly missed the opportunity to be a NASA astronaut in 2009.
She will be only the fourth African American woman to travel into space.
Billionaire Jared Isaacman, 38, is the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a payment processing company. Isaacman is also an experienced pilot and passionate about space.
He contacted SpaceX after seeing Richard Garriott, one of the first private space tourists, fly to the International Space Station in 2008.
Isaacman has said in interviews that he always wanted to go into space, and when he did, he would like to donate some seats to people who deserved to be on board. He is funding the mission and will be the commander of Inspiration4. The amount paid was not revealed.
The youngest of the group, Hayley Arceneaux, 29, is an assistant physician at St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The hospital is the same one where Hayley, aged 10, was treated for bone cancer, which led to her receiving an artificial knee and a titanium prosthesis to replace a femur.
Hayley represents the pillar of “hope”. She will be the first person with a prosthesis to travel into space.
How was the training of space tourists
The rocket that will take tourists into space will take off from NASA’s Kennedy Center in Florida, where the Apollo missions to the Moon also departed last century. But training to apply for the spacewalk is quite different from what experienced astronauts like the legendary Neil Armstrong or Yuri Gagarin have done.
To participate in Inspiration4, the four American civilians—38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman; Hayley Arceneaux, 29; Chris Sembroski, 42; and 51-year-old Sian Proctor — were trained for just six months.
Professional astronauts, in addition to having to exhibit excellent health and fitness conditions, need to train for at least a period of two to three years.
Camp above sea level
During the six months, the group of space tourists carried out various activities to learn to deal with a weightless environment, such as parabolic flights at SpaceX’s base and a snow hike at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters on Mount Rainier in the northwest region. from the United States, to practice teamwork in challenging times.
The four walked to a camp located miles above sea level, imitating the tradition of professional astronauts before their missions.
Zero Gravity Experiments
In July, they had their first experience with zero gravity, aboard a modified Boeing 727 aircraft piloted by the Zero Gravity Corporation (Zero-G), in order to prepare for the mission.
In the same month, at the National Aerospace Research and Training Center (NASTAR) in Pennsylvania, the crew experienced the G-force they will be exposed to during their space voyage with the help of a centrifuge — a long, rapidly rotating arm.
This is necessary to prepare for the various situations that occur during space flight, such as launching and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
“Personally, I found centrifuge training incredibly useful and better than anything we can simulate on fighter planes. In the centrifuge, the strength is different, a feeling of heaviness in your chest as you try to breathe,” said Jared Isaacman, who is a fighter pilot.
Exams and tests
The team in charge of training also showed the crew where mission supplies are stored on the spacecraft and taught them how to access the items in case of an emergency.
During the three days in orbit, they will have their sleep, heart rate, blood and cognitive abilities examined. They will also undergo tests before and after the trip to measure the effect of weightlessness on their bodies. The idea is to accumulate data for future missions with private passengers.
The mission will raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital (Memphis, Tennessee), where Hayley Arceneaux currently works, after receiving on-site treatment during her childhood for bone cancer.
Hard training to be an astronaut
To be a professional NASA astronaut, in addition to zero-gravity simulators, there are endurance tests in extreme situations. One of them is to spend days at the bottom of the sea, which simulates the condition of microgravity.
The candidate also needs to meet certain physical, academic, and even political-geographical characteristics.
NASA requires a person to be between 1.5 m and 1.9 m tall, 27 to 37 years old, have good eyesight, excellent cardiovascular functions, a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Biological Sciences, Physics, or Mathematics, and more than a thousand hours of flying experience in jets — for anyone who wants a pilot or commander’s job.
Training takes place at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, spanning 24 to 36 months. But often, the candidate waits years to participate in a space mission, no matter how well trained.