Last 2 crew members named for St. Jude space mission

The two remaining crew members in the Inspiration4 space mission benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital were named this morning on NBC’s “Today” show. Dr. Sian Proctor from Phoenix and Christopher Sembroski of Everett, Washington will join Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments who will command the flight, and Hayley Arceneaux, 29, a physician assistant at the hospital and one of thousands of its childhood cancer survivors. Proctor, 51, an entrepreneur, community college professor and activist for space exploration, was selected as the top entrant of an independently judged online business competition that attracted approximately 200 entries and was conducted by the eCommerce platform Shift4Shop. According to St. Jude, Proctor is a lifelong explorer who was born in Guam. She is also a geoscientist and pilot who was a finalist in the NASA astronaut-selection process in 2009. “This opportunity is proof that hard work and perseverance can pay off in unimaginable ways,” she said in a statement. “I have always believed that I was preparing for something special, and that moment has arrived with Inspiration4.” She will serve as the mission pilot and back up the commander with support-related needs throughout the mission. (From left) Christopher Sembroski, 41, Hayley Arceneaux, 29, St. Jude childhood cancer survivor and physician assistant there, Dr. Sian Proctor 51, of Phoenix, and Jared Isaacman, entrepreneur and crew lead. Sembroski, 41, contributed to a special fund-raising campaign for St. Jude that offered an Inspiration4 seat to a lucky donor out of more than 72,000 entries. He is employed at Lockheed Martin and is a U.S. Air Force veteran. A friend of his was actually chosen but could not go. Bluff City Biz Sign up to get the latest news and analysis from our Business team. “Although I’ve been fortunate to have spent years in the aerospace industry, I never imagined having the opportunity to reach the stars, especially through something as simple as supporting St. Jude,” said Sembroski. He will serve as the mission specialist and will help manage payload, science experiments and communications to mission control. The mission name Inspiration4 recognizes the four-person crew’s purpose – to send a humanitarian message of possibility and inspire support for St. Jude – and represents the pillars of Leadership, Hope, Generosity and Prosperity. The crew could blast off as early as late September from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. They will circle the globe, more than 335 miles above Earth in a mission expected to last three days. Elon Musk’s SpaceX will monitor the journey from its mission control station. The actual orbital flight will be on Musk’s Crew Dragon spacecraft Resilience, which made its second trip last November, with four astronauts, to the International Space Station. Shortly after the “Today” announcement, Musk lost his fourth Starship spaceship prototype in a launch from Texas. Like the three others, it exploded before landing. It’s Musk’s dream that SpaceX will allow space travel for ordinary people, including to the moon and Mars. SpaceX has been delivering cargo to the International Space Station since 2012. Last November, it launched four astronauts, who are still there. In April, it plans to launch another crew and bring its first one home. Inspiration4 is the first time a crew of civilians will have orbited in space. “I think we’re trying to deliver an awful lot of messages with this mission,” Isaacman said in a YouTube video that went live Tuesday morning. “It is the first time that a global superpower has sent people up into orbital space. And I think that should send a message of all the things to come, right? We know someday in the future – 50, 100 years from now – you’re going to have a lunar base at some point. You’re going to probably have some sort of Martian colony, but you have to start somewhere. “I think when you know this mission is complete, people are going to look at it and say it was the first time everyday people could go to space. That’s important, right, because when you think about it, you do have a better chance of getting struck by lightning then becoming a NASA astronaut. This has to eventually open up to more people,” Isaacman said. Since the Inspiration4 campaign with St. Jude was announced in early February, the campaign has raised approximately $113 million for the hospital, including $100 million Isaacman donated. The crew will receive emergency preparedness training, beginning Wednesday, March 31, with spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, as well as partial- and full-mission simulations. The mission is expected to raise $200 million for the hospital. News of the mission was broadcast to the nation in a 30-second Super Bowl ad on Feb. 7, which raised more than $1 million within 90 minutes of airing, the hospital said. For more information on the Inspiration4 mission, visit stjude.org/Inspiration4 .

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