SpaceX Inspiration4 mission crew speaks to St. Jude patients from space (video)
While having a fun snack on M&Ms, the all-citizen Inspiration 4 crew took a break from their science-heavy mission to chat with pediatric patients at Memphis Children’s Hospital.
The three-day Earth-orbit mission, which began on Wednesday (September 15), aims to raise 200 200 million and a lot of publicity for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, where the adorable press conference took place.
Among the four crew members on the private SpaceX mission is the hospital’s former cancer patient, 29-year-old Haley Arsenox, the first astronaut to fly with a prosthetic. Arsenox is now a physician assistant for St. Jude. She turned up a lot for the brief press conference available on YouTube.
“I want to let everyone know that we are doing this for you,” said Arsenox. “We’re thinking a lot about you. I want to tell you that I’m a little girl going through the same cancer treatment as you. If I could do it, you could do it, and I’m so proud of each of you.”
Crew commander and billionaire Jared Isaacman, 38, paid $ 200 million for the opportunity to fly more into Earth orbit than anyone else since Apollo’s time. Answering Tyler’s question about why the mission was taking place, Isaacman said he felt there was still much to be done in space.
“The [space] in it is very scary and we know very little about it,” he said. “There may be some really interesting answers to the questions we’ve all been asking for a long time, so we have to do it. But we also have to look at some of the real responsibilities on earth. That’s why St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is an important part of our mission.”
Cyan Proctor, 51, a longtime analog astronaut who is now actually in space, has become the first black female spacecraft pilot in orbit. A patient named Eva asked her and the rest of the crew about the sleeping bags they were using in space.
“If you ever hit the bottom, we had the same kind of sleeping bags,” she explained. “Last night was the first time we had our first sleep in space here. It was great because we were in our sleeping bags on our chairs, but we were floating on the chairs and we had seat belts around our sleeping bag, so we didn’t fly while sleeping. . “
Chris Sembrowski, a Lockheed Martin staffer and former space camp consultant, conducted M&M for the rest of the crew and thought they were in question, which led to some fun moments as astronauts struggled for position to catch floating candies. Arsenox interrupted one of her questions even momentarily and for the first time nodded her head for M&M floating with her head upside down.
The crew appears to be making the best use of the small SpaceX crew dragon spacecraft during their mission, and it took a while to show patients an incredible view outside the flying domed window in place of the docking system. (Inspiration 4 will not dock with the International Space Station, which has historically been used by Crew Dragon.)
In the absence of a crew-trained astronaut, Arsenox paid tribute to the quartet’s six months of work on missions to get to know each other through experiences such as water survival and zero-gravity flight. In addition to the crew’s experience, she noted, “It was a lot of learning, studying power points, going through the literature, and then we had to handle really cool.”
The crew asked why they didn’t fall into space, their favorite space food (Proctor planned to have pizza for the second night in a row) and if there were more astronauts on the moon (Proctor soon referred to the NASA Artemis program.)