There were virtually no updates from the four members of the Inspiration4 crew to the general public until Friday afternoon: no video of them floating in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, no voice greeting the world, nothing. Their social media pages, which had been active in recent weeks as they prepped for the launch, have remained deafeningly quiet since the rocket took off on Wednesday.
But they’re up there, at a height of approximately 360 miles above the surface of the planet, and the mission is becoming more animated. On Friday afternoon, they rang the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange and then broadcast a 10-minute live update on YouTube as they flew around the world at 17,000 miles per hour, according to the team.
According to Jared Isaacman, the millionaire who funded the project and acts as its commander, “we’re viewing the globe every 90 minutes, which is pretty incredible.” Isaacman stated this during a live video broadcast of the expedition.
The members of the crew provided a brief tour of the spacecraft and discussed their recent activities with the audience. Sian Proctor, the mission’s pilot, displayed a sketch that she had created herself. Christopher Sembroski, the mission expert, sang and played the ukulele in the background. Hayley Arceneaux, the medical officer, performed a series of flips on the floor.
Earlier in the trip, the crew members interacted with smaller groups of people and with individual members of the crew.
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, the team had been tasked with answering queries from cancer patients. A recording of the conversation was made available on Twitter by St. Jude. The hospital, which serves patients at no cost to their families and conducts research to find treatments for cancer and other illnesses, is the beneficiary of the mission, which aims to raise millions of dollars.
The members of the team also spoke with star Tom Cruise on the phone. Sian Proctor, a Phoenix community college professor who acts as the project’s pilot, has spoken about how Tom Cruise’s 1986 film “Top Gun,” about fighter jet pilots, served as an inspiration for her work on the mission. Mr. Isaacman also enjoys flying decommissioned military aircraft as a recreational activity.
Splashdown is planned for Saturday at 7:06 p.m. Eastern time off the coast of Florida’s Atlantic Ocean, which will bring the mission to a conclusion.