During the first two episodes of Netflix's series on Inspiration4, an all-civilian mission to space, the audience was introduced to the crew members. We got to see what each member represented, their background, and how they were chosen for the trip.
Episodes 3 and 4 delve deeper into the mission and provide some seriously cool facts about the spacecraft, crew, and experience. Here are the 5 most interesting details that came from the episodes.
1. Training for the mission was short but intense.
When thinking of what it takes to go to space, most would assume years of experience, training, and knowledge. Even one of the crew members, Hayley Arceneaux, said in an interview that "Until now, astronauts have really had to be physically perfect, and I don't fall into that category."
That said, this lack of knowledge really emulated Inspiration4's underlying memo that space travel is attainable for anyone.
When preparing for the trip, the crew was given less than a year's notice, meaning that their preparation was limited in time. The four members trained for roughly 12-hours a day for 6-months long! Their training included a simulation of takeoff and landing, flying fighter jets, and even hiking for 10 hours up a mountain.
"A lot of [training] has been academics and studying on our own, really learning the nominal overview of the mission and the ins and outs of our spacecraft," said Arceneaux. On top of that, we've done the typical astronaut training with centrifuge training. We're going to do some water survival training, and the hyperbaric chamber is coming up. Also, our commander Jared has had some really cool ideas of additional training to bond us as a crew," she said. "In May, we hiked up Mount Rainier and we camped … for a couple of days and definitely got out of our comfort zone and really bonded as a crew."
2. The media exposure was a lot.
It may not come as a surprise when hearing that a role such as a member on the world's first all-civilian space missions will come with its fair share of attention, but even the team themselves didn't anticipate to what extent. At one point, Arceneaux mentions that within a short span of 6-hours, she had been a part of a whopping 44 interviews about the trip. The crew garnered interviews anywhere from local media stations to big-name network shows such as The Today Show.
3. The Crew Dragon Is Predominately Autonomous.
The Crew Dragon, the spacecraft in which the team will call home for the duration of their mission, is autonomous. Built of highly advanced computing systems and having capabilities to be operated remotely from the earth, the Crew Dragon won't require much intervention from the four civilians.
Nevertheless, Sarah Gillis, the Lead Operations Engineer for SpaceX and a key trainer for the crew, mentions that it is still imperative the team learn the ins and outs of the craft should an emergency occur. They learned how to operate Crew Dragon from space and even how to reboot the systems if they crash.
4. An Autograph of Neil Armstrong Will Be Taken to Space.
Sian Proctor, the mission pilot, will be bringing a framed autograph of Neil Armstrong to space.
Proctor obtained the autograph from her brother who flew from Australia to hand it over to her for the trip. The autograph was signed for their father who worked for NASA during the Apollo 11 mission. Working in Guam at the time, he played a key role in following the location of the spaceship as it touched down safely to earth.
Proctor's sister, Robyn Selent, said in an interview with a local news station, “The astronauts made a trip to Guam to thank the people at the tracking station, and my dad was one of the very few people and only one of two there that got Neil Armstrong’s autograph.”
Proctor was always inspired by her father’s hard work and perseverance, gaining her love of space from him. She decided to bring the signed autograph with her on the mission in honor of her father and as a representation of a dream come true.
5. The Crew Had to Taste Test Food Before the Mission.
One of the many tedious things that might not come to mind when envisioning astronaut training is taste testing. What is typically a mundane and everyday task for most must be taken a little more seriously when the topic of space comes up. Though the episodes didn't delve too deeply into the subject, we did get to watch the team taste test food for their trip, a unique and unexpected event.
Proctor even later said in an interview with Inverse, “I am going to have pizza in space, thanks to SpaceX!”
The fourth episode concluded with all four members being officially approved by Gillis to travel to space. She noted they are now prepared enough and have successfully undergone the proper education that they will need for the mission to be successful.
The team is now officially prepared, excited, and ready for the once-in-a-lifetime trip.