By SudOuest.fr with AFP
For the first time, four neophytes who have never traveled in space will spend three days in orbit around the Earth
SpaceX must send this Wednesday evening (2:02 in France) into orbit a crew made up for the first time of complete novices, without a professional astronaut. These passengers, four in number, are supposed to embody the opening of space to everyone, giving the mission its name: Inspiration4. A billionaire, Jared Isaacman, is behind the project. It was he who chartered the mission, at his own expense, inviting three anonymous people to join him, via a rather original selection process. Each seat has been assigned to represent a value.
Jared Isaacman, billionaire pilot
He is the mission commander. This 38-year-old American is the CEO of the company Shift4 Payments, which offers stores and restaurants a service for processing bank card transactions. He created it when he was 16, from the basement of the family home. Passionate about piloting, he holds a round-the-world jet record and is qualified to fly on military aircraft. In 2012, he founded a company providing training to pilots of the US Air Force, Draken International.
Married and father of two daughters, he has always been passionate about space exploration. In 2008, he witnessed the takeoff, aboard a Russian rocket in Kazakhstan, of one of the first private tourists to visit the International Space Station, Richard Garriott. It was after this experience that he contacted SpaceX. Its seat represents “leadership”.
Hayley Arceneaux, cancer survivor
Originally from Louisiana, the young woman is a survivor of pediatric cancer. She was treated as a child at St Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, for which Jared Isaacman organized a fundraiser. She works there today as a medical assistant. At 29, she will be the youngest American to be sent into orbit around the Earth, and the first person with a prosthesis to go to space. She will be the medical manager of the mission. Its seat represents hope.
Sian Proctor, professor and astronaut candidate
At 51, Sian Proctor was a professor of Earth Sciences for 20 years. Born in Guam, her father worked at NASA during the Apollo missions. She participated in an experiment in Hawaii simulating life on Mars, and twice applied to NASA to become an astronaut. In 2009, she arrived among the finalists (a few dozen out of more than 3,500 candidates at the start). She will be only the fourth African American woman to go to space. She will be the pilot of the mission, assisting the commander. It won its seat, which represents prosperity, by creating an online sales site linked to the space, as part of an entrepreneurial competition organized by the company of Jared Isaacman.
Chris Sembroski, former Air Force
At 42, this former US Air Force has served in Iraq. He now works in the aviation industry, for Lockheed Martin, in Washington State (Northwestern United States). He was selected after making a donation as part of the fundraiser for St Jude Hospital. Its seat represents generosity. Its role will be to help in the management of the cargo on board, and communications with the Earth.