Two space fans get seats on billionaire's private flight

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SpaceX

In this photo provided by SpaceX, Jared Isaacman, from left to right, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski pose for a photo, Monday, March 29, 2021, from the SpaceX launch tower at NASAs Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. (SpaceX via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A billionaire’s private SpaceX flight filled its two remaining seats Tuesday with a scientist-teacher and a data engineer whose college friend actually won a spot but gave him the prize.

The new passengers: Sian Proctor, a community college educator in Tempe, Arizona, and Chris Sembroski, a former Air Force missileman from Everett, Washington. They will join flight sponsor Jared Isaacman and another passenger for three days in orbit this fall.

Isaacman also revealed some details about his Inspiration4 mission, as the four gathered Tuesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. He's head of Shift4 Payments, a credit card-processing company in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and is paying for what would be SpaceX's first private flight while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Their SpaceX Dragon capsule — currently parked at the International Space Station for NASA — will launch no earlier than mid-September, aiming for an altitude of 335 miles (540 kilometers). That’s 75 miles (120 kilometers) higher than the International Space Station and on a level with the Hubble Space Telescope.

The capsule will be outfitted with a domed window in place of the usual space station docking mechanism for their trip.

Isaacman, 38, a pilot who will serve as spacecraft commander, still won’t say how much he’s paying. He's donating $100 million to St. Jude, while donors so far have contributed $13 million, primarily through the lottery that offered a chance to fly in space.

Hayley Arceneaux, 29, was named to the crew a month ago. The St. Jude physician assistant was treated there as a child for bone cancer.

That left two capsule seats open. Proctor, 51, beat out 200 businesses and nabbed the seat reserved for a customer of Isaacman's company. An independent panel of judges chose her space art website dubbed Space2inspire.