Chris Sembroski is one of four crew members aboard SpaceX’s Inspiration4 flight. He won a place on the crew after his friend gave his spot away. Sembroski’s wife, Erin Duncan-Sembroski, and his children are supporting him every step of the way.
Sembroski’s Generosity seat was given to a member of the public who entered a contest for the opportunity. It was actually a friend of Sembroski who won the contest — the best man at his wedding, Time revealed. His friend decided to pass the ticket along to Sembroski after he couldn’t go himself, for personal reasons.
Chris Sembroski told Space.com: “It feels just so, so overwhelmingly satisfying and amazing. I feel so blessed that there was so much generosity afforded to me to make this all happen.”
1. Chris Sembroski Told His Wife: ‘We’re Gonna Go Ride a Rocket’
Chris said he first told his wife about the opportunity right after Isaacman called and offered it to him, Time reported. He simply said: “Sweetheart, I think we’re gonna go ride a rocket.”
He said she got really quiet and he “knew we had more to discuss.”
According to the Netflix series about Inspiration4, Erin is a teacher in Washington state. One of their first dates involved watching a space shuttle launch. Erin said she was charmed by his goals in life and his personality.
In an interview with Axios, Erin said about her husband’s flight: “I need him back safe and sound. And so I think I’ll really start celebrating when he’s back on the ground.”
2. They Have Two Young Daughters
While Erin tends to stay out of the spotlight, the couple did reveal in the Netflix series that they have two daughters. Their daughters are nine and three years old, Time reported.
3. He’s Had to Juggle Family Time with Training & Work
Sembroski was a space camp counselor who attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and got a bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics. He served in the Iraq War in the Air Force and later had a post maintaining a fleet of Minuteman missiles, Time reported. He volunteered with ProSpace, which lobbied for legislation to open up spaceflight to the private market, which included SpaceX.
Sembroski revealed to Time that training involved 60-hour weeks in a simulator along with classes at SpaceX’s headquarters. He had to study briefing books and take conference calls. His employer didn’t give him time off to train, although they did make some accommodations for his schedule. With so much on his plate, Sembroski still was determined to continue making his wife and daughters a priority.
He told Time: “If I am constantly on my phone or checking email, am I really there and in the moment spending time with them? It is important that I am with my family when I am with my family.”
4. He Said His Family’s Been Very Supportive
Sembroski told the Independent Tribune that his wife and children have been supportive of him every step of the way.
My wife and kids are very supportive and my kids are super excited. You talk about traveling on a SpaceX rocket it’s probably not as risky as it feels like or as a lot of people think it might be. So there are a lot of other things you could do that are definitely riskier like racing your cars down the street or whatnot. But with all of the people I’ve met and everything like that, I’ve got no worries or concerns about what’s going on and how the training is or what they’re going to strap me into.
Erin has posts on her Facebook about raising money for St. Jude, which is the charity that SpaceX’s flight is supporting.
5. On Social Media, People Are Saying Sembroski & His Family Are Inspiring
People on social media are saying that Sembroski and his family are inspiring, especially after watching them on Netflix’s series about the space flight.
Tyler Ferguson wrote: “watching just a small glimpse of how you and your wife are navigating this incredible opportunity was incredibly inspiring. As a husband and father myself, I appreciate the authenticity in which the documentary on Netflix shares your thoughts and considerations.”
Another person said: “@ChrisSembroski @rookisaacman watched episodes 1/2 of
@netflix #countdown doc: when I approached my wife about #inspiration4 we had some emotional convos about the same struggles as your spouses. #strength and #love to your families as you do something bigger than yourselves.”
Keith Yohn wrote: “I know in the Time article I read how @ChrisSembroski broke the news to his wife. It also shared how he has come to terms with the fear. But I love that his biggest fear is wasted opportunity.”