The crew of the first all-civilian space mission, Inspiration4, which is scheduled to launch into Earth’s orbit in September using SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, have used a Soviet MiG-29 fighter jet for training, according to mission commander Jared Isaacman.
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In early February, SpaceX announced the first all-civilian space mission in history. The crew will include physician Hayley Arceneaux, US Air Force veteran and aerospace industry data engineer Chris Sembroski, geoscientist Sian Proctor, and Isaacman, the CEO of payment processor Shift4 Payments.
The mission also aims to raise funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which specializes in treating children’s oncological diseases.
“Incredible week. 30-hr [SpaceX] sim, $FOUR earnings, 32+ flights generated in Mig-29, AlphaJets & L-39s. [Inspiration4] crew pulled lots of G’s & got ‘named’. Missing man flight for The Great One. Oktoberfest-ish party w/ Dos Gringos live! Very appreciative to all big team effort,” Isaacman tweeted.
The MiG-29 was manufactured in 1989 and was used by the Ukrainian Air Force after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2011 it was purchased by one of Microsoft’s founders, Paul Allen, and was later sold to Isaacman after Allen died in 2018.
The Inspiration4 flight is expected to take off on September 15 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and spend three days at an Earth orbit of about 540 kilometers (335 miles).