On September 15th, 2021, SpaceX went down in history for something that was once unimaginable. The aerospace company launched four private citizens into outer space for a little trip where no common man had ever gone before. A Crew Dragon spacecraft resting atop a 70 meter (229-feet-tall) Falcon 9 rocket held the four-person crew. 08:02 pm EDT marked lift off for the first commercial space flight.
More on the Mission
Jared Isaacman, the billionaire tech entrepreneur, announced the introduction of a new type of space flight about 10 months ago. This wouldn’t include professional astronauts going out into space to carry out their space duties but rather normal citizens who could pay to see what the world looks like from a 408 km distance (the distance between the International Space Station and Earth). And hence, a new mission was born.
Who Got the Seats?
The first seat was earmarked for a frontline worker. The lucky winner was St. Jude Hospital’s cancer survivor, Haley Arceneaux. Right now, she’s working as a physician’s assistant at the hospital that granted her another life all those years ago. Standing at 29, she’s the youngest person to go into outer space and the only person having done so with a prosthetic leg.
The second seat was part of an auction and was drawn from the pool of participatory donors. The event raised $13 million for St. Jude Hospital and apart from the seat, the winner gained a 30 second featured ad in this year’s Superbowl. Chris Sembroski has his name on this seat, though he didn’t technically win it himself, his friend did.
To decide who would fill the final seat (the fourth was earmarked for Jared Isaacman), the company introduced a shark tank-like contest. Entrepreneurs in the country were asked to make a shop that would invite maximum donations for the hospital. The selected winner in a Southern Mountain Community College professor and geoscientist Sian Proctor who made countless efforts to sell her poetry and art.
Isaacman, Arceneaux, Sembrosk, and Proctor are only the 4th crew to take a ride on the glorious Dragon. SpaceX built the capsule as sort of an intergalactic taxi service to carry humans from Earth to the International Space Station, as well as other destinations in outer space.
The commander for the mission is none other than Isaacman, with Proctor filling the role of pilot, while Sembroski and Arceneaux will be mission specialists. Regardless, the capsule is designed to be fully autonomous so there isn’t really much they’ll be doing on their trip. Instead, that responsibility falls to the SpaceX crew still Earth-bound.