Golden Ticket

A Contest Is Sending These Mere Mortals Into Orbit For Free

The group now includes a former Space Camp counselor and a community college professor.

Mar 30 by Victor Tangermann
SpaceX
Image by SpaceX

Earlier this year, a billionaire named Jared Isaacman announced that he was picking three lucky winners to go to on a free multi-day journey into orbit on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

Isaacman, who is helping finance the expedition — and will be joining in on the fun himself — announced at the time that he’s looking to raise money for childhood cancer research through a raffle.

Bone cancer survivor Haley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician’s assistant, was picked in February. Today, The New York Times reports, Isaacman picked the two other lucky winners to join him on the once in a lifetime journey.

Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old community college professor from Tempe, Arizona, and Christopher Sembroski, a 41-year-old Lockheed Martin data engineer from Everett, Washington, will join Isaacman and Arecenaux.

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“The stars really aligned for us in terms of this group,” Isaacman said.

The plan is to ride the Crew Dragon capsule to an altitude of 335 miles, roughly 80 miles higher than the International Space Station, with launch tentatively scheduled for mid-September.

Proctor decided to pass when asked if she wanted to apply to become an astronaut with NASA after being selected as a finalist in 2009 — but not getting one of the coveted nine spots with the agency that year.

“I said, ‘No,’ because I just feel like that door has closed,” she told the Times. “But I was really hopeful that in my lifetime, maybe commercial space would be available for me. I never in a million years would have imagined it would come just like that and so quickly.”

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The team of four will now go through health evaluations and then will have to ride a giant centrifuge at the Kennedy Space Center to experience the strong G forces they’ll feel during launch and re-entry.

Sembroski spent time as a counselor at Space Camp, a program for children, to get a taste of what it’s like to be an astronaut. He’s struggling with being in the spotlight and described himself more as “that guy behind the scenes, that’s really helping other people accomplish their goals and to take center stage,” according to NYT.

“Everybody’s doing that for me this time,” he said. “And that is a completely different and unique experience.”

READ MORE: A Billionaire Names His Team to Ride SpaceX, No Pros Allowed [The New York Times]

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More on the mission: Bone Cancer Survivor Will Get Free Trip to Space This Year


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