Former Fairport resident Dr. Sian Proctor part of historic SpaceX mission
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For the first time in history, a rocket carrying an all-civilian crew blasted off into space for a 360 mile, three day journey. On the flight is Dr. Sian Proctor, who grew up in Fairport. Lift-off of the Falcon 9 booster happened just after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
News10NBC took a look at the Inspiration4 Mission. The crew is traveling in a SpaceX rocket on this historic all-civilian human spaceflight. It’s one step closer toward a space tourism industry.
There was a flawless takeoff from pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex for the start of the Inspiration4 mission into space.
Hours before liftoff, News10NBC visited with Rochester Museum and Science Center Planetarium Director Steve Fentress, who talked about the main purpose of this flight.
"They’re not going to the International Space Station. It is to look at the earth. A special earth viewing dome window has been added to the spacecraft just for this flight," Fentress said.
The crew, made up of four non-professional astronauts includes Dr. Sian Proctor who was born in Guam but raised in Fairport.
Earlier this year she talked to News10NBC’s Brett Davidson soon after learning that she was picked for this Inspiration4 mission. She said her parents, but mostly her father encouraged her to explore the world, and not be afraid of it.
"I have a lot of fond memories of being in Fairport, and growing up, and being able to go out, and explore, and express myself," Proctor said.
Also on the flight is billionaire Jared Issacman, the flight commander. 29-year old Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor is a physician assistant, and 42-year-old Chris Sembrowski is a data engineer.
"They had training, but the spacecraft will be controlled by SpaceX from the ground," Fentress said.
He went on to say this is all made possible by billionaires such as Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson who all helped pioneer the latest in space travel, from what they learned during the about rocket ships over the past several decades.
"If you were starting over how would you build a spacecraft using modern technology, modern electronics, modern computer software, and so it’s a beautiful thing to see these smoothly operating machines now," Fentress said.
Proctor added, "This makes me happy, and excited for the new space that’s opening up, and the people who are going to follow in our footsteps."
Here’s an interesting fact according to Fentress: This SpaceX flight happened with virtually no help from NASA, which typically trains all U.S. astronauts before they’re chosen for spaceflights.