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Civilians set to blast off into space for mission benefiting St. Jude

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:24 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - If the weather cooperates, four American citizens will blast off at about 7 p.m. Wednesday evening for outer space with no NASA astronauts aboard.

The Space-X Inspiration4 mission is all about opening up the next frontier in space travel, raising $200 million for a charity back on earth in Memphis, Tennessee!

With their Falcon 9 rocket as a distant backdrop at Kennedy Space Center, those on the Inspiration4 mission shared their rising joy.

”We just couldn’t be more excited about the mission,” said Haley Arceneaux, Inspiration4 medical officer. “I think we have a lot of future astronauts at St. Jude.”

”I am the mission pilot and it’s really special for me to have that title because I’m going to be the first black female pilot of a spacecraft,” said Sian Proctor, Inspiration4 pilot.

Billionaire Jared Issacman says Space-X founder Elon Musk has assured the Inspiration4 crew their Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule are ready for a safe liftoff and return to earth

“So, the last couple days we’ve been tearing up the skies in some fighter jets at a higher risk than this mission. So, we’re nice and comfortable as we get strapped into Falcon,” he said.

Issacman’s crew of “ordinary people” will attempt to inspire other ordinary folks to donate a grand total of $200 million to St. Jude

“Not only are we trying to raise money for St. Jude and trying to eliminate childhood disease, but we can do so much good if we just reach out to each other,” said Chris Sembroski with Inspiration4.

“While in orbit, they’ll be going around the earth approximately 15 times every day. They’ll stay up for about three days and they’ll bring them home safely, back here off the coast of Florida to bring them home and reunite them with their families,” said SpaceX Senior Director Benji Reed.

The star of the mission from Memphis is Arceneaux, a former St. Jude patient who now works as a physician assistant at the hospital that saved her life.

”I personally am so excited. Any jitters are the good kind,” Arceneaux said.

Haley will conduct scientific experiments as the mission’s medical officer and will have a St. Jude story to share back on earth that may help us all see anew that anything is possible.

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