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SpaceX’s Latest Mission Will Launch Four People Into Orbit

  • September 15, 2021

Her friends thought she was going to be a contestant on “The Bachelor.” When the Inspiration4 commercial aired, “One of them said, kind of jokingly, ‘Oh, you’re going to space?’ And that’s when I said, ‘Yes, I’m actually going to outer space.’”

In March, the four began intensive training, including swinging around a giant centrifuge in Pennsylvania to become acclimated to the crushing forces experienced during launch and landing. They flew in a plane that simulates the experience of free fall.

They also spent 30 continuous hours in a Crew Dragon simulator at SpaceX, running through contingency plans for a multitude of emergencies.

“The moment it started and throughout the whole thing, time went by so fast,” Mr. Isaacman said. “We were like, we’ll do it again.”

They did do it again, with another 10-hour simulation.

Ms. Arceneaux will serve as the flight’s medical officer and conduct some research on the crew during the flight. Dr. Proctor is to serve as pilot, although the spacecraft largely flies itself. Mr. Sembroski as mission specialist will have an assortment of responsibilities, while Mr. Isaacman is the flight’s commander.

It could well be years before another launch anything like Inspiration4. The cost of seeing Earth from orbit will remain far beyond most people’s means. And the endeavor carries high risks, with many observers invoking the death of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was aboard the space shuttle Challenger when it disintegrated during launch in 1986. It’s far from a commercial airline flight and more like the orbital equivalent of scaling Mount Everest.

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