BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Chris Sembroski was once a Space Camp counselor in Huntsville. On Wednesday night, he actually went to space.
Sembroski, a former Space Camp counselor, took off around 7:02 p.m. Wednesday as part of the Inspiraction4 mission that carried him and three others to space for a three-day orbit around the Earth.
One of the three people on the ship is Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who funded the project. The other two are Hayley Arecenaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Center, and Sian Proctor, a community college professor and soon-to-be the first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft.
Sembroski is a data engineer at Lockheed Martin and was a Space Camp counselor in college.
“It’s just exciting for me to really be able to merge my professional career back into aerospace, doing the work that I do,” Sembroski said in an interview. “Then to be a part of this Inspiration4 mission, it feels just so overwhelmingly satisfying and amazing. I feel so blessed that there was so much generosity forwarded to me to make this all happen.”
Patricia Ammonds, senior director of communications for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center that runs Space Camp, said the four crew members visited their facility in Huntsville back in July.
“We’re so excited about the Inspiration4 launch, which not only includes Chris Sembroski, a former Space Camp counselor, but also Jared Issacman, who is a graduate of our Aviation Challenge camp program,” Ammonds said. “Chris, Jared, Dr. Sian Proctor and Haley Arcenaux were here July 1, to speak to our Aviation Challenge students. They are all so inspirational in their own way, and it’s especially meaningful that Chris and Jared both have connections to our programs.”
Ammonds said that during his trip to Huntsville, Sembroski challenged the students he was addressing to “find their passion and go after that.”
“He certainly has done that,” Ammonds said, “and we’re proud to know we have been part of that journey. We’ll be cheering as the crew launches tonight and following their mission over the next few days.”
You can watch the launch on SpaceX’s Youtube page.