When it blasts off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida later this year, Inspiration4 will carry more than just four lucky individuals for the ride of a lifetime on the first all-civilian mission to space. It will carry hope, prosperity, generosity, and a leader who knows a visit to outer space isn’t an ego trip, but a trip for all of humanity.
This week, that leader, Jared Isaacman, along with Hope seat occupant, Hayley Arceneaux, named the identities of their fellow crewmates: Dr. Sian Proctor will occupy the Prosperity seat, with Chris Sembroski in Generosity.
Sian is an educator, scientist, pilot and artist, who’s had her sights set on the stars since childhood when she looked up to her father, a contractor tracking flights for NASA’s Apollo space program. As an African-American woman, she holds dear her idea of JEDI — a force for good, though perhaps not the one you’re thinking of. Just. Equitable. Diverse. Inclusive. JEDI is what Sian envisions the opportunities for exploration should look like. “This is the message of how we are writing the narrative of human spaceflight right now, as we go to the moon, and we go to Mars, and what do we want that to look like,” she said.
Chris is a U.S. Air Force veteran, an aerospace industry employee, father and husband, and someone who has given his life to a passion for solving problems through data. From rooftop stargazing, to working as a Space Camp counselor introducing the mysteries of space to others, to witnessing a Space Shuttle launch as a college freshman, Chris now becomes an ambassador for generosity and what it means for everyone back on Earth. “I really want to make sure we support each other, that we promote kindness, that we inspire people to be more generous with each other, just the way that generosity was afforded to me,” he said.
Generosity. Prosperity. Hope. These are the qualities that have helped St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital lead the world in the research and treatment of some of the most devastating diseases to strike the most vulnerable among us. Ours is a lifesaving mission that will be advanced here on Earth thanks to the funds and awareness raised through a mission named, aptly, Inspiration.
But for any mission to prosper, everyone — regardless of race, religion or economic circumstance — must have the equal opportunity to participate. This equality is at the heart of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas’ statement that he’d rather have one dollar from a million people than a million dollars from one person. Danny not only wanted the research and treatment St. Jude would offer to be available to all, he wanted the opportunity to support the mission to be accessible as well. He knew such inclusive generosity was how St. Jude would prosper.
Jared, Hayley, Chris and Sian are as different as four people can be, yet are bound by a singular drive: their dreams. Dreams as vast as a galaxy and as bright as a star. Dreams that include not just themselves, but their families, friends and all of us.
We’re grateful to them for taking us along on their journey just as Danny took us on his more than 60 years ago. And look where we’ve arrived, thanks to dreamers and supporters like all of you — thousands of lives saved, families kept whole, new dreams realized and the promise of more to come for everyone, everywhere.