Two space fans take a seat on the billionaire’s private flight



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CAP CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – Billionaire’s private SpaceX flight filled its two remaining seats on Tuesday with a scientist-teacher and data engineer whose college friend actually earned a spot but awarded him the price.

The new passengers: Sian Proctor, a community college educator in Tempe, Arizona, and Chris Sembroski, a former Air Force missileman from Everett, Washington. They will join flight sponsor Jared Isaacman and another passenger for three days in orbit this fall.

Isaacman also revealed some details about his Inspiration4 mission, as the four gathered at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday. He’s the head of Shift4 Payments, a credit card processing company in Allentown, Pa., And pays for what would be SpaceX’s first private flight while also raising money for St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee.

Their SpaceX Dragon capsule will launch no earlier than mid-September, targeting an altitude of 335 miles (540 kilometers). It is 120 kilometers higher than the International Space Station and at the same level as the Hubble Space Telescope.

Isaacman, 38, a pilot who will serve as a spaceship commander, still won’t say how much he’s paying. It is donating $ 100 million to St. Jude, while donors have so far contributed $ 13 million, mostly through the lottery which offered a chance to fly into space.

Hayley Arceneaux, 29, was named to the crew a month ago. St. Jude’s medical assistant was treated there like a child for bone cancer.

This left two capsule seats open. Proctor, 51, beat 200 companies and landed the seat reserved for a client of the Isaacman Company. An independent jury chose its space art website called Space2inspire.

“It was like when Harry Potter found out he was a wizard, a little bit of shock and respect,” Proctor told The Associated Press last week. “It’s like, ‘Am I the winner?'”

Sembroski, 41, donated and entered the lottery, but was not chosen in the draw earlier this month – his friend was. His friend refused to fly for personal reasons and offered the place to Sembroski, who worked as a space camp advisor at the university and volunteered for space defense groups.

“Just finding out that I’m going to space was an amazing, weird and surreal event,” he said.

Proctor, who studied geology, applied three times to the NASA Astronaut Corps, approaching in 2009, and participated in simulated Mars missions in Hawaii. She was born in Guam, where her late father – a “hidden figure” in her mind – worked at the NASA tracking station for Apollo moonshots, including those of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

She plans to teach from space and create art there too.

“For me, everything I’ve done … has brought me to this moment.”

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The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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