See the citizen astronauts of Inspiration4 learn how to fly a SpaceX Dragon (photos)

Sian Proctor trains for her role as pilot of a SpaceX Crew Dragon for the upcoming Inspiration4 private space mission.  (Image credit: Sian Proctor/Twitter/Inspiration4)

The citizen astronauts flying to space with Inspiration4 this September are hard at work training for their mission at SpaceX HQ. 

This September, four private astronauts will zoom around Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on the three-day Inspiration4 mission, which was booked by tech billionaire (and crew commander) Jared Isaacman. 

The crew also includes childhood bone cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, a physician's assistant at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital; data engineer Chris Sembroski; and geoscientist, science communicator and artist Sian Proctor. All four folks have been hard at work training for the flight. Most recently, Isaacman and Proctor have been "learning to fly a Dragon."

Related: Meet the contest-winning crew of Inspiration4

Isaacman and Proctor, who will serve as pilot for the mission, have been training at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The pair have been getting acquainted with the Crew Dragon because, while it does fly autonomously, they have to know the craft inside and out and be prepared for any possible scenario. 

"Crew training continues for #Inspiration4 commander @rookisaacman and pilot @DrSianProctor, with more time spent in @SpaceX simulators to familiarize the team with various aspects of flying Dragon!" team members said via Inspiration4's Twitter account about the training progress that they are making with Crew Dragon. 

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The post included photos of Isaacman and Proctor in SpaceX spacesuits and training in simulations to prepare to fly a Crew Dragon capsule. The pair look focused on the task at hand as they work hard for their flight. 

Inspiration4 is set to be the first-ever crewed space mission that will launch without any "professional astronauts" on board, so the foursome will have to be extra prepared for their orbital journey. Additionally, the mission is designed to raise money and support for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Each crew member represents a different "pillar" — leadership, hope, generosity and prosperity. 

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.