From liftoff to landing.
Days after four “non-astronauts” made history by launching into space, the SpaceX Inspiration4 crew landed Saturday night. The crew included tech billionaire Jared Isaacman, who served as mission commander; Hayley Arceneaux, a health care worker and cancer survivor; Dr. Sian Proctor, the fourth Black female astronaut; and Chris Sembroski, a data engineer who won his seat on board the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket. They launched at 8:02 p.m. on Sept. 15 from Kennedy Space Center.
The group’s space trip ended with splashdown at about 7:07 p.m. EST in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida.
“Thanks so much, SpaceX,” Isaacman said. “That was a heck of a ride for us and we’re just getting started.”
On behalf of SpaceX, welcome home to planet Earth,” Space Operations Director Kris Young told the crew after splashdown. “Your mission has shown the world that space is for all of us and that everyday people can make extraordinary impacts on the world around them. Thank you for sharing your leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity, and congratulations on your incredible journey.”
The Inspiration4 mission was paid for by Isaacman, who promoted the flight as a massive fundraising effort for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
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The goal is to raise $200 million, and Isaacman has pledged the first $100 million. Arceneaux, 29, was treated for childhood cancer at St. Jude and now works there as a physician assistant. She was chosen to represent the hospital on Inspiration4 and has served as the mission’s medical officer.
Proctor, 51, a finalist to become a NASA astronaut in 2009, said the mission is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. As the fourth Black female astronaut, she said she hopes to inspire a new generation of women of color to think about “reaching for the stars” by serving as a mission pilot.
Netflix SpaceX launch special
On Sept. 15, Netflix livestreamed the launch as part of its docuseries, “Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space Live Launch.”
Camera crews from Netflix have been involved in the process from the very beginning.
“Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space” has already released four episodes tracking the crew through their training up until just days before the launch. The final episode covering the launch, mission and return to Earth will be available Sept. 30.
To that extent, Hehir and his crew have been embedded with the Inspiration4 members and their families for the past three to four months.
“So the moments that you’re seeing, the trust that they’re giving us and the candor that they’re providing us, has made for some spectacular moments,” said Hehir, who also directed the Michael Jordan-Chicago Bulls docuseries “The Last Dance.”