PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Two days after splashing down to Earth following three days in space, the Inspiration4 crew on Monday partook in a photo op at Port Canaveral with the SpaceX rocket booster that propelled them into orbit.
News 6 reporter James Sparvero captured video of the crew — the first all-civilian crew to complete a private orbital mission — at the Port as they posed with the reusable Falcon 9 rocket booster that safely landed after Wednesday night’s historic launch from Kennedy Space Center.
“Back from space, the @inspiration4x civilian astronauts have a photo op on a @SpaceX barge with the Falcon 9 rocket booster that blasted them off at @NASAKennedy. @news6wkmg gets a wave from @rookisaacman, @DrSianProctor and @ArceneauxHayley. #SpaceX #Inspiration4 @elonmusk,” Sparvero tweeted.
Jared Isaacman, 38, the billionaire founder of Shift4 Payments, an internet payment processing company, paid SpaceX an undisclosed amount for him and three others to orbit the Earth for three days.
Besides Arceneaux, who was treated for bone cancer at St. Jude as a child, he was accompanied by Sian Proctor, 51, a geology professor and science communicator; and Chris Sembroski, 42, a Lockheed Martin engineer and Air Force veteran.
“What an amazing adventure! I’m so glad to be home on earth and to be back with my family,” Sembroski tweeted after splashdown. “There is so much to share! What an amazing @inspiration4x team! Thanks @SpaceX!”
Back from space, the @inspiration4x civilian astronauts have a photo op on a @SpaceX barge with the Falcon 9 rocket booster that blasted them off at @NASAKennedy. @news6wkmg gets a wave from @rookisaacman, @DrSianProctor and @ArceneauxHayley. #SpaceX #Inspiration4 @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/5L1lGgVB9L— James Sparvero (@News6James) September 20, 2021
The mission aimed to raise $200 million for St. Jude, the famed Memphis, Tennessee-based research hospital that focuses on childhood cancers and pediatric diseases, with Isaacman pledging the first $100 million. By splashdown, more than $60 million more had been raised through livestreams, contests to win seats on Dragon and other public events.
Then came a simple tweet from SpaceX founder Elon Musk: Count me in for $50M.
“This brings tears to my eyes,” tweeted Arceneaux in response. “Thank you @elonmusk for this generous donation toward our $200 million dollar fundraising goal for @StJude!!!”
The crew conducted medical research during their three days in orbit, which hopefully will give researchers a better understanding of how space travel impacts “ordinary people.”
About 600 people have ever flown in space, the vast majority relatively young Caucasian men in excellent physical condition.