KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — For the first time in human history, four civilians are on their way into the great beyond, all courtesy of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission.

What You Need To Know

Riding on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon capsule Resilience carried four crewmembers who are not professional astronauts or members of a government space agency.

The launch took off on time at 8:02 p.m. EDT on Wednesday from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Minutes later, Falcon 9’s first stage booster landed safely on the Just Read the Instructions droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.,

Many space lovers came far and wide to watch the historic launch. 

Civilians Chris Sembroski, Dr. Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux soared toward a location 100 miles higher than the space station, for an altitude of 357 miles, just above the current position of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Since March of this year, the four crewmembers have spent months training for this mission.

Isaacman, a 38-year-old entrepreneur, is the mission commander and is funding the trip.

He is taking two sweepstakes winners with him on the three-day journey in support of St. Judes Children's Hospital.

Arceneaux is a former patient and cancer survivor and current physician assistant at the hospital. She will be the mission’s medical officer.

Proctor will be the first black female pilot of a spacecraft.

"There have been three black female astronauts that have made it to space, and knowing that I'm going to be the fourth means that I have this opportunity to not only accomplish my dream, but also inspire," she said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Sembroski works at Lockheed Martin as a data engineer, as well as being a U.S. Air Force veteran. His role in the journey will be the mission specialist.

The crew of the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, from left to right: left to right: Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux. (SpaceX)
The crew of the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, from left to right: left to right: Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux. (SpaceX)

People who came to watch said the launch was an inspiration and proof that space wasn't just a dream of everyday people anymore.

The Halls made their way to Space View Park in Titusville Wednesday night all the way from Mobile, Ala., to watch the historic launch with their daughters and grandchildren, who live in Orlando.  They said after coming to several launches in the past that were scrapped, this one was definitely worth waiting for.

“I just thought it was so cool how with everything going on in the world right now, and people just came together — just so patriotic — all just united to support and celebrate this amazing thing that happened,” said Cynthia Schneider, the Halls' daughter. “So, it was just amazing – it gives me chills – tears in my eyes if you can’t tell.”

The family believes the launch will show their young children that anything is possible as they grow up, and that possibly even one day they could be the ones that get to go into space.​

The purpose of the Inspiration4 is to inspire others in the hope of raising awareness and donations to St. Jude, according to the mission’s manifest.

The Inspiration4 mission will be the introduction of Translational Research Institute for Space Health’s (TRISH) EXPAND — Enhancing eXploration Platforms and Analog Definition — Program. It is designed to collect data from crewed missions and create a centralized database. 

Part of the mission for the team at TRISH will be to study the usability of the technologies by these amateur astronauts since they do not have the years of training a full-fledged astronaut would.

“Most of the technologies that we fund and support at TRISH have that mindset," said Dr. Emmanuel Urquieta, the chief medical officer for TRISH. "They need to be as unobtrusive as possible. They need to be as easy to use as possible with the mindset that when we go to Mars or when we go back to the Moon or such mission, you need to make sure that they are very easy to use."

Once the three-day mission is over, the Dragon will re-enter Earth and splashdown off the coast of Florida’s waters in the Atlantic Ocean.

Inspiration4 launch: LIVE updates from our reporters and photographers



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