This time it’s not make believe. One of the original crew members of the 2013 University of Hawaiʻi’s Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation program (HI–SEAS) on Mauna Loa is headed to space, for real.
Geoscientist Sian Proctor is one of four crew members who will be aboard the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit Earth, Inspiration4. The mission is proceeding toward a targeted launch on Wednesday, September 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Proctor was one of six crew members who emerged on August 13, 2013 after spending four months at the HI–SEAS habitat as part of a NASA-funded study to investigate food strategies for long-duration space travel.
“I am loving feeling the breeze against me,” Proctor said that day. “Even the warmth of the sun on my face. That’s nice.”
HI–SEAS Principal Investigator and UH Mānoa Professor of Information and Computer Sciences Kim Binsted said, “I’m so excited to see Sian go from being an analog astronaut at HI–SEAS to being a real one in space!”
The plan is for Inspiration4 to travel in a low Earth orbit on a multi-day journey. According to the mission website, the crew will conduct experiments while traveling weightless at more than 17,000 miles per hour. Researchers will also collect environmental and biomedical data and biological samples from the four crew members, before, during and after the historic spaceflight.
The mission is raising awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.