SpaceX’s first all-private spaceflight, Inspiration4, is scheduled to launch next month. Organized by Shift4Shop CEO Jared Isaacman, the mission raised a total of $113 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as part of a raffle with one of the seats as the prize. Another seat was given away in a promo for Shift4Shop, in which website owners could earn an entry by trying its ecommerce solution.
Sian Proctor was selected from 200 entries in the Shift4Shop giveaway and will serve as the mission pilot. Christopher Sembroski won the St. Jude raffle. A physician named Hayley Arceneaux, who had received treatment for bone cancer at St. Jude as a child and now works for its Memphis, Tennessee, location, is joining the crew as its medical officer. Jared Issaacman is commanding it. Isaacman says that the Inspiration4 mission is meant to promote the four pillars of Leadership, Hope, Prosperity, and Generosity.
Now Netflix has announced that it is making a five-part documentary on the Inspiration4 mission, which will be titled Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space. The first two episodes are slated to debut on September 6 and will feature the crew’s training and preparation for the mission. The final episode will provide a recap of the flight and is expected to be released in late September. Director Jason Hehir, who previously directed the ESPN documentary on basketball star Michael Jordan, The Last Dance, has been tapped to helm the production of the documentary.
Netflix also expects to release the companion show, A StoryBots Space Adventure, on September 14. A StoryBots Space Adventure will include a combination of live-action and animation and feature the Inspiration4 crew as they answer questions from students.
Inspiration4 is expected to lift off from the historic Launchpad 39A at Cape Canaveral on September 15. It will orbit Earth at an altitude of 540 kilometers, which is a higher orbit than the International Space Station’s 350-kilometer altitude.
And does the first all-private mission for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon make Elon Musk nervous? Well, Musk did admit, “Any mission where there’s a crew onboard makes me nervous. The risk is not zero. When you’ve got a brand-new mode of transportation, you have to have pioneers.”
The Crew Dragon has already successfully launched NASA’s astronauts to the International Space Station and returned them safely during the Demo-2 and Crew-1 missions for the Commercial Crew Program. Some of the data from the Demo-2 mission helping SpaceX improve the safety of the Crew Dragon. Crew-2 is still docked to the International Space Station and recently moved its Crew Dragon to make room for an incoming cargo spacecraft. This was a repeat of the maneuver that Crew-1 used to make room for Crew-2.
The Inspiration4 mission will add to the list of Elon Musk’s “pioneers,” whose journey will be documented in Netflix’s new five-part series, Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, and the companion show, A StoryBots Space Adventure.