On September 15, four civilians who, less than a year ago, didn't know each other at all, will launch to space as part of the three-day Inspiration4 mission in orbit around Earth that will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the USA.
Flying alongside pilot Sian Proctor, who is also a geoscientist, professor and artist, will be three other crewmembers: Jared Isaacman, a billionaire tech entrepreneur and the mission's commander; Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude and a childhood cancer survivor; and data engineer Chris Sembroski.
While this is an all-civilian crew — meaning the crew members are not "professional astronauts," or astronauts that work for an agency like NASA — Proctor's seat in the spacecraft could certainly be described as "a long time coming."
"I'm loving every minute of it," Proctor told Space.com.
After a brief slip in the targeted launch time, Inspiration4 is currently set to launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida no earlier than 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Sept. 15 (1200 GMT Thursday, Sept. 16).
Back in 2009, Proctor was a finalist in NASA's astronaut selection process. For years she has also completed many different analog space missions, including the first-ever analog mission at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) research facility in Hawaii — a mission that lasted four months.
She becomes the first black female pilot to fly a spaceship and the fourth black woman in space.
Information sourced from Space.com