Four ordinary people (not professional astronauts) will participate in an unusual space mission this Wednesday (15). They will take off on a rocket from the SpaceX on the world’s first civilian-only trip for several days off Earth.
This is the Inspiration4 mission, which can be followed almost “in real time” in a Netflix document series: a “Countdown: The Inspiration4 Mission to Space”. The SpaceX rocket launch will be streamed live on the platform’s YouTube channel.
The trip is scheduled to last three days. In it, the crew will take the opportunity to collect data for scientific research.
Who are the travelers and who will pay for it?
the american billionaire Jared Isaacman, 38, is responsible for funding the civilians’ adventure. Payments company founder Shift4Payments, he is an avid pilot, space explorer and will be in charge of the mission.
He bought his place on the rocket and three other people, but the value was not revealed. Besides Isaacman, will be present:
– Hayley Arceneaux, 29. She was ten years old when she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Due to the treatment, he started to wear a prosthesis in one of his legs. She is currently an assistant physician at St. Jude Children’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. With her training, she will be the mission doctor.
– Chris Sembroski, 41. He is a former US Air Force officer. In addition, he is a data engineer and has in his career volunteer work in groups linked to the universe of astronomy. A friend of his won a fundraising contest for the hospital where Arceneaux works and has given the job to Sembroski.
– Sian Proctor, 51. She is a professor of geosciences at a university in Arizona. The teacher was chosen after participating in a competition organized by the company of Isaacman. She has opened an online store that offers prints and postcards with art that she produces herself. The goal is raise awareness and strengthen the role of black women in the space industry. She has had experience with space travel simulations before.
How was the training for the mission
The four had six months of training together. During this time they studied manuals and participated in numerous physical tests.
One involves a centrifuge camera to simulate the force of gravity on bodies themselves in the off-Earth environment. Basically, they were trapped in a chair that kept turning and moving to create the centrifugal force.
In order for them to feel a similar sensation, the four also participated in flights that simulate microgravity. In this type of test, whoever is inside the aircraft can feel zero gravity for about 30 seconds.
To break the ice and get the crew to know each other, Isaacman invited them to climb a mountain together in early May. The place chosen was Washington’s Mount Rainier, an active volcano covered in ice.
“They developed some mental toughness. They felt comfortable being uncomfortable. Food sucks on the mountain. Temperatures can suck on the mountain. We can’t turn the thermostat up and down. [na missão espacial]… And I can say that the food is not good in space, from what we’ve proved so far” Isaacman to Insider website.
At SpaceX’s headquarters in California, they spent days at an intense pace of preparation. According to the billionaire, there were almost 12 hours a day of studies, which involved classes on the parts of the rocket and everything that can go wrong, described the website Insider.
After the theoretical class, practice. Not in space, of course, but through simulations inside the Crew Dragon passenger pod, which will be used on the voyage. In one of them, they donned their entire space suit and stayed inside it for 30 hours.
How will the launch be
The Falcon 9 rocket will ship the passenger capsule Crew Dragon to space. Its launch will be made from Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, southeast of the United States. If the weather helps, everything will happen at 9 pm (Brasilia time).
Why is the mission considered unique?
Between 2001 and 2009, eight civilians have already been in space on tourist trips, so to speak. They got there aboard Russian rockets. However, all missions had professional astronauts closely following everything.
*With information from the Space site