CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX is gearing up to launch one of its biggest missions yet: its first all-civilian spaceflight.
As part of the mission, called Inspiration4, one of the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft will ferry four people — Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski to space and on a three-day journey around the Earth. Liftoff is set for tonight, Sept. 15, at 8:02 p.m. EDT (0002 Sept. 16 GMT) from NASA's historic Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center.
Prior to heading to Florida for the launch, and roughly a month before liftoff, the crew received something very special. In a naming ceremony that took place on Aug. 8, each member of the four-person crew received a unique call sign, a type of nickname that astronauts and military pilots are given during their training.
You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT (1945 GMT), courtesy of SpaceX.
The Inspiration4 crew went through much of the same training exercises as astronauts, including time in fighter jets, which put them in an environment where communication and coordination is essential — similar to spaceflight. After completing their flights, the crew were bestowed with special call signs that will adorn their flight suits.
Having flown fighter jets many times before, Isaacman already had the call sign "Rook," and Inspiration4 representatives shared the rest of the crew's nicknames on Twitter.
"Call signs acquired," the company tweeted on Aug. 10. "Introducing: Hanks, Leo, Rook, and Nova."
Sembroski is "Hanks," Proctor is "Leo" and Arceneaux is "Nova".
According to company representatives, the crew's family and friends were a part of the naming selection process as well as the crew themselves and their flight trainers.
"By far one of the best parts of @inspiration4x #AstronautTraining is flying and even though our rocket will be going way faster - this gives us an opportunity to gain situational awareness in a complex, fast moving fighter jet," Proctor tweeted after the ceremony.
If all goes as planned, "Hanks," "Leo," "Rook" and "Nova" will strap into their Dragon spacecraft on Sept. 15, and blast off on a three-day journey around the Earth. Liftoff is scheduled during a five-hour window that opens at 8:02 p.m. EST (0002 GMT on Sept. 16).
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