Until Friday afternoon, the four members of the Inspiration4 crew put out almost zero updates to the general public — no video of them floating in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, no audio saying hi to the world. Their accounts on Twitter and Instagram, busily updated in recent weeks as they prepared for launch, have been silent since liftoff Wednesday.
But they are up there, orbiting at an altitude about 360 miles above Earth, and the mission is getting chattier. They rang the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange on Friday afternoon and then presented a 10-minute live update on YouTube as they zoomed around the planet at 17,000 mph.
“We’re seeing the world every 90 minutes, that’s how fast we’re traveling around it, it’s pretty incredible,” said Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who financed the mission and who serves as its commander, said during the live event.
The crew members gave a quick tour of the spacecraft and talked about what they have been doing. Sian Proctor, the mission pilot, showed a drawing she had done. Christopher Sembroski, the mission specialist, played a ukulele. Hayley Arceneaux, the medical officer, did some flips.
Earlier in the mission, the crew members talked with smaller groups and individuals.
Inspiration4 crew member Jared Isaacman seen on their first day in space in this handout photo released on September 17, 2021. SpaceX/Handout via REUTERS
Arceneaux, a childhood cancer survivor who was treated at St. Jude and who now works there as a physician assistant, showed the stuffed animal toy that was used as a zero-gravity indicator to show when the astronauts had reached orbit. The toy represents golden retrievers at St. Jude that help comfort patients.
The crew members also had a call with actor Tom Cruise. Proctor, a Phoenix community college professor, has talked about how “Top Gun,” Cruise’s 1986 movie about fighter jet pilots, inspired her. Isaacman also flies retired military jets as a hobby.
The mission’s Twitter feed offered four photographs from space. One is a group photo of the crew. The other three show individual crew members in the glass dome at the top of the Crew Dragon capsule.
SpaceX tweeted a brief update Thursday stating that the crew had eaten, slept and conducted scientific research. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Twitter that he had spoken to the crew. (“All is well,” Musk reported.)
An online betting app also announced that Isaacman had placed wagers from space.
The mission is scheduled to end Saturday, with splashdown at 7:06 p.m. Eastern time off the Atlantic coast of Florida.
“We know how fortunate we are to be up here,” Isaacman said at the conclusion of Friday’s live event. “We’re given all of our time right now to science research and some ukulele playing and trying to raise some good awareness for an important cause for us back on Earth.”
He added, “Appreciate you joining in with us, and we’ll see you soon.”
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