First All-Civilian Mission to Space

Led by Jared Isaacman, a crew of four crew members take on the first all-civilian mission to space.

Courtesy of SpaceX

Led by Jared Isaacman, a crew of four crew members take on the first all-civilian mission to space.

Tiana Salisbury, Editor

On September 15, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center and began its way on a three-day journey orbiting the Earth. This mission, dubbed Inspiration4, was the first without any professional astronauts, thus becoming a notable mission in space history.

Four civilians were aboard the Crew Dragon capsule that housed them for their journey in space. Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire, paid for and lead Inspiration4. Isaacman used this mission as a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and he hoped to raise $200 million to help cure children’s cancer. 

Isaacman was joined by 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, a childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant at St. Jude, 51-year-old Sian Proctor, a pilot and geoscientist, and 42-year-old Chris Sembroski, a space fanatic who won his seat on Inspiration4 through an online raffle.

In the months leading up to their flight, the Inspiration4 crew underwent similar training to that of professional astronauts. According to SpaceX, the crew experienced several simulations so that they could understand how they would feel on their actual mission in space. Some of these simulations include plane trips that mimic the anti-gravity feel and a 30-hour stay in the Crew Dragon capsule. Additionally, the crew went on a team-bonding camping trip to Mount Rainier to ensure that all four members were able to effectively cooperate.

While in space, the four civilians had tasks to complete in addition to taking in the wonders of orbiting the Earth. The crew completed several scientific experiments on their bodies to see how spaceflight affected them. Since most of the people who have traveled to space in the past have been professionally trained astronauts, there has not been much of a diversity of body types space experiments have been done on. As stated by SpaceX, on this mission, the crew members conducted various tests to measure shifts in blood oxygen levels, ECG activity, and more while they were in space.

I am excited to see what the future of space travel looks like.”

— Piper Guyton (11)

Prior to this mission, Jeff Bezos and his crew went on a space excursion in July. Now with Inspiration4 as the first all-civilian mission to space, many people are starting to wonder what the future of commercialized space travel will look like. True to this, Piper Guyton (11) states that she is “excited to see what the future of space travel looks like.” Although space travel is dangerous for humans and harmful to the environment, maybe one day people will see themselves enjoying the view outside their capsule as they are orbiting around Earth just like the crew of Inspiration4.