Recently I’ve seen a lot of social media banter about if or not the Inspiration 4 crew should be called “astronauts.” Perhaps we need a new name for these sorts of people- such as… (fill in the moronic suggestions here)
Folks, stop. JUST STOP!
Astronaut; noun: One who flies in space, space venturer.
These four individuals climbed atop a rocket that was just nine feet shorter than an Apollo Saturn IB and launched with 1.71 million pounds of thrust, which was just over 100,000 pound greater than the Saturn IB, and flew to an orbital altitude higher than any humans had flown since Apollo 17- which took place just 14 months shy of a half century ago. And then the Inspiration 4 crew returned safely by splashing down in the Atlantic off Cape Canaveral. They were the first all-rookie crew to orbit the Earth since Skylab 4 launched on November 16th, 1973.
If that isn’t space venturing, I don’t know what is.
I’ve been watching spaceflight since Freedom 7 and this WAS a space mission accomplished by people who have earned the title of “Astronaut.”
For those who quip about billionaire and who paid for what, let’s take a look at this mission’s Pilot In Command; Jared Isaacman. Aside from being a highly successful businessman, he is also a highly skilled pilot. He flies right wing for the Black Diamonds jet flight demonstration team and broke the world record for circumnavigating the globe in an aircraft. Plus, he holds a degree from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Frankly, as a retired professional pilot, I’d be confident sitting next to him in any flying machine, any time- including a spacecraft.
All of these crewmembers trained for this mission and none of them just walked aboard because they simply had a ticket.
These people launched from sea level, orbited the Earth higher than anyone in a half century and returned to sea level. They all four are astronauts and to argue that point, is completely missing the point