I won’t bother you with too much background information on Inspiration 4 (you can read our past coverage on the mission). But missions and new documentaries came into the Billionaire Space Summer, when both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos exploded in space (or almost space). Inspiration 4 features its own millionaire, Jared Isaacman, whose stupidity makes him a less charismatic person to see on screen, but whose more restrained ego and lower profile means he’s a much easier person to see than Branson or Bezos.
Within 90 minutes, Isaacman and SpaceX founder Elon Musk were once asked to respond to the confrontations between Branson and Bezos this summer, and questions were raised as to why the public should care about space when the world seems to be falling apart. Musk tells us that it is exciting to think about the future of humanity outside the world; And Isaacman said he made it a reason to partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and create a fundraising force for the mission to offset this privilege and do something good. These are not bad answers, but there is no follow-up that brings us closer to the minds of these two very rich and influential people. Their motivation has been kept simple, and for the first two episodes, we hardly understand who they are and why their money is going where.
Our acquaintance with the crew is where the documentaries are mandatory: Hailey Arsenaux, Sean Proctor and Christopher Sembrowski. Arsenaux’s story is particularly exciting and moving because he describes his battle with osteosarcoma as a child, but it’s also a great story of resilience and hope. Her youth and strength (she 29) are somewhat contagious. Arceneaux is an absolute newcomer when it comes to learning something about space – his first question after receiving his ticket on Inspiration4 is whether he will go to the moon. “Apparently we haven’t been there in decades,” he said, laughing embarrassingly.
This is where it becomes easy to root for Inspiration4. Arsenax and Sembrowski, like the rest of us who never planned to go into space, and never thought we would have a chance. Proctor’s history and his twin passion for airplanes and space mean he’s always been waiting for moments like this. These are people who have never had a chance to go to space in the past – and who now find themselves literally in the context of something from this earth.
That doesn’t mean this Countdown It is right to tell us that the mission will change the future of space as we know it – for at least one or two generations, space travel will be under the control of larger and richer forces and ordinary people will not be given a chance except in extraordinary circumstances like this but the mission gives us a glimpse of what we are for. I can try.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misrepresented Hailey’s age. His age is 29, not 19.