Cancer survivor, geoscientist: meet the crew of the first fully civilian space flight

The quartet of ordinary citizens who make up the Inspiration4 team, ready to make history aboard a SpaceX rocket as the first fully civilian crew to launch into orbit, may at first glance appear to be ordinary people, but they are. far from ordinary.

They consist of a billionaire internet commerce executive and a jet pilot; geoscientist and finalist in the NASA Astronaut Nominee Program; a medical assistant at the childhood cancer hospital where she was previously a patient; and an aerospace data engineer and US Air Force veteran.

The crew’s vehicle, dubbed Resilience, is scheduled to take off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday.

Here are the profiles of the Inspiration4 crew.


Initiator and billionaire benefactor of Project Inspiration4, Isaacman paid a large undisclosed sum – reported by Time magazine to have cost around $ 200 million – for the four seats aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

A longtime aviation enthusiast who flew in the Black Diamond Civilian Aerobatic Jet Squad and co-founded a private air force of fighter jets for military training called Draken International, Isaacman made his fortune in e-commerce. Isaacman transformed the business he started as a teenager in the basement of his family’s home into one of America’s leading financial transaction services, Shift4 Payments.


A geoscience professor at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix and a PhD in science education, Proctor’s lifelong passion for space exploration is rooted in her father’s work in Guam, where she was born, for a NASA tracking station during the Apollo lunar missions.

A certified pilot and major in the Arizona Civil Air Patrol, she has completed four “analog” astronaut projects involving simulated space activities, including a four-month man-made mission to Mars funded by NASA to study dietary strategies. for long duration space flights. Proctor was also a 2009 NASA Astronaut Nominee Program finalist and is now poised to become the fourth African-American woman to ever fly in space. She was chosen in an online business competition organized by Shift4 Payments as part of the Inspiration4 Crew Selection.


A survivor of childhood bone cancer, Arceneaux became a medical assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Center in Memphis, Tennessee, the main pediatric cancer center where she was previously a patient. Arceneaux, who lost part of his left thigh and knee to cancer at the age of 10, boasts of becoming the first person with a prosthetic body part to go to space.

St. Jude, where Arceneaux now works with leukemia and lymphoma patients, is the primary beneficiary of Project Inspiration4, which Isaacman designed primarily as a fundraising and promotional initiative for the institute. Arceneaux said she was motivated to participate in space flight to show her young patients “what life can be like after cancer”.


A data engineer at aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in Everett, Wash., Sembroski spent some of his free time in college launching scale models of high-powered rockets and volunteered with ProSpace, a grassroots organization that lobbied on behalf of private space companies on Capitol Hill. Sembroski also conducted mock space shuttle missions as an advisor for US Space Camp, a government-funded science, technology and engineering youth camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

He joined the US Air Force as an electromechanical technician, and was deployed to Iraq and also helped maintain a fleet of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles before leaving active service in 2007. Sembroski was selected for the military. Inspiration4 crew through a raffle that drew 72,000 applicants and raised $ 113 million in donations to St. Jude.

About Travis Durham

Travis Durham

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