Timothy Nguyen ’23
On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, SpaceX launched four civilians, with no experience or prior training as an astronaut, into space for three days. This team is known as Inspiration4 and they have become the first space team to be entirely staffed with untrained civilians.
From left to right in the picture above, the four members of Inspiration4 are Chris Sembroshki, a 42-year-old who received the right to join the team from a friend who won a raffle sponsored by St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Sloan Proctor, a 51-year old geologist and educator who was chosen from a social media post she made about her space related artwork, Jared Isaacman, a 38-year old billionaire who funded the entire mission, and finally, Hayley Arcreneaux, a 29-year old cancer survivor who is now a physician’s assistant at St Jude’s. Despite these four people having drastically different backgrounds, they have one thing in common, which is not having any experience in a space-like environment, but having the desire to explore space for a charitable cause.
Inspiration4’s true mission was never to prove the possibility of space tourism, but rather to raise awareness and funds for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. They intended to raise a minimum of 200 million dollars. According to Business Insider, Jared Isaacman, the leader of the Inspiration4 pledged 100 million dollars, and Elon Musk pledged 50 million. The team even decided to auction off the items that they took out to space for even more money to support the fundraiser. Thus, they achieved their 200 million dollar goal relatively quickly, and have actually raised well over 210 million.
Inspiration4 has not only shown the possibility of space tourism in the near future, but has also inspired many to give to charity. Their mission inspired those dreaming of a future in space, and those suffering from illnesses who are dreaming of a better future now. If you would like to learn more about the Inspiration4’s mission, or would like to donate to their cause, please check out their website at Inspiration4.com.