I won’t bore you with excessive background information on Inspiration 4 (you can read our past coverage on the mission here). But missions and new documentaries billionaire space come to a halt in the summer, when Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos both explode in space (or almost in space). Inspiration 4 has its own billionaire Jared Isaacman, whose naivety makes him a less impressive person to look at on screen, but whose more restrained ego and lower profile means he’s a much easier person to look at than Branson or Bezos.
In 90 minutes, Isaacman and SpaceX founder Elon Musk were asked only once to answer what Branson and Bezos faced this summer, and raised questions about why the public should take care of space when the world is falling apart. Musk tells us that it is exciting to think about the future of humanity outside of Earth; And Isaacman says one reason he partnered with St. Funding the Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the mission was to compensate for this supreme right 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 motivations are kept simple, and for the first two episodes, we barely understand who they are and why the space is there and where their money is going.
We are introduced to the crew where the documentaries become compelling: Haley Arsenaux, Sian Proctor and Christopher Sembrowski. The story of Arsenaux is particularly stressful and moving as she describes her battle with osteosarcoma in childhood, but it is also a truly wonderful story of resilience and, of course, hope. Her youth and energy (she is 29 years old) are a bit contagious. Arsenaux is a perfect beginner when it comes to knowing anything about space – her first question after accepting her ticket on Inspiration 4 is whether or not she will go to the moon. “Obviously we haven’t been there in decades,” she says, laughing awkwardly.
This is where it becomes easier to root for Inspiration 4. Arsenaux and Sembrowski are like the rest of us who never planned to go into space and never thought we would get a chance. Proctor’s history and her twin passion for aviation and space mean she was always looking forward to such a moment. These are people who have never had a chance to go into space in the past – and who are now literally out of this world.
That doesn’t mean Countdown It is fair to say 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 big and rich powers, and ordinary people will not be given opportunities. Like this except in exceptional circumstances. But the mission gives us a glimpse of what we can strive for.
Correction: Haley’s age was incorrect in the earlier version of this story. She is 29, not 19.