As Jared Isaacman prepares to launch into space, what does his mission mean for space educators?

Written by on September 14, 2021

 As Jared Isaacman prepares to launch into space, what does his mission mean for space educators?

By Megan Frank

September 14, 2021

In this image made from NASA TV, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is seen with the Earth behind from the international space station, Saturday, April 24, 2021. The recycled SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts has arrived at the International Space Station, a day after launching from Florida. (NASA via AP)

Lehigh Valley billionaire businessman Jared Isaacman plans to launch into space on Wednesday with an all-civilian crew. 

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His mission, named Inspiration4, is poised to make history as the first all-civilian commander and crew launched into Earth’s orbit. 

The Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown says independent missions like Isaacman’s will be incorporated into space education programs at the center. That’s along with NASA’s Artemis program, which will take Americans back to the moon and on to Mars in the next few years.

“We are going to start addressing things like the new space race,” said Felipe Maldonado, an educator who manages space programs at the center. “These young minds that are coming to the center everyday are going to grow up to be the scientists and the engineers that will shape this future.”

Inspiration4 will orbit the Earth for three days, documenting every occurrence along the way for future study. The crew, two women and two men, have backgrounds in science, medicine and engineering.

Maldonado hopes young people will recognize that having a variety of skills is necessary to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

“We need people of different backgrounds, people who work well on large teams,” Madonado said. “We need all sorts of diverse people to work on these goals.”

The crew vehicle is set to liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center atop one of SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rockets. The five-hour targeted launch window opens at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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