Elon Musk pledges $50 million to Inspiration4 fundraiser for St. Jude

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk poses with the crew before the launch on September 15, 2021.

John Kraus / Inspiration4

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk helped meet the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Inspiration4 spaceflight fundraising goal just hours after his company brought the crew back from orbit.

The main goal of the Inspiration4 mission, which started on Wednesday and came down on Saturday, should raise $ 200 million for St. Jude.

Inspiration4 Commander Jared Isaacman, a billionaire entrepreneur who bought the flight from SpaceX, personally donated $ 100 million to St. Jude. The Inspiration4 mission raised an additional $ 60.2 million in donations before Musk pledged to contribute $ 50 million of his own – bringing the campaign total to more than $ 210 million.

“Count me in for $ 50 million,” Musk said in a tweet on Saturday.

The historic Inspiration4 mission with a private crew spent three days in space and carried Isaacman, pilot Sian Proctor, medical officer Hayley Arceneaux and mission specialist Chris Sembroski. The crew circled the earth at an altitude of 590 kilometers, which is above the International Space Station and which has traveled the furthest above the surface in years.

The space flight reached several milestones, including: the first private SpaceX space flight, the first fully non-professional crew to become astronauts, the first black female spaceship pilot, the youngest American astronaut to date, and the first person to fly in space with a prosthesis.

The Inspiration4 passengers pose in the crew access arm of Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From left: Commander Jared Isaacman, Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux, Pilot Sian Proctor and Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski.

SpaceX

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Watch SpaceX livestream Inspiration4 splashdown: Crew Dragon returns

SpaceX safely brought its Crew Dragon spaceship back from orbit on Saturday, with the capsule bringing the four members of the Inspiration4 mission back to Earth after three days in space.

Crew Dragon Resilience capsule plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“Thank you SpaceX, it was a lot of fun for us and we’re just getting started!” said Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman from the capsule.

In less than an hour after spraying, SpaceX loaded the capsule onto its salvage ship and the crew disembarked, each waving and thumbs up after disembarking. The crew are then flown from the ship to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which is just a short flight from the splash point.

Inspiration4 Mission Director Scott Poteet participated in a post-splashdown call with reporters speaking from the SpaceX recovery ship.

“The group is in a great mood, they are having a lot of fun and everyone is looking forward to getting back together with their families,” said Poteet.

Elon Musk tweeted his congratulations to the crew shortly after the splash.

The historical private mission – which includes Isaacman, the pilot Sian Proctor, the medical officer Hayley Arceneaux and the mission specialist Chris Sembroski – orbited the earth at an altitude of up to 590 kilometers, which is located above the International Space Station and which has been furthest above the surface for years has traveled. As a free-flying space flight, the capsule did not dock on the ISS, but circled the earth independently at a speed of 15 orbits per day.

Benji Reed, SpaceX’s senior director of manned space programs, told reporters after the splash that the company’s sales and marketing teams had seen an “increased” number of inquiries from people interested in buying a private spaceflight. He said SpaceX can fly “five or six” private missions a year.

“When the demand is there, we will see what we can do to further develop this capability,” said Reed.

Reed also noted that there were “some issues” that SpaceX had resolved during the space flight, including the waste management system or the toilet on board the spacecraft. Todd Ericson, Inspiration4 Mission Director, added that the toilet “has a problem with a fan that is part of the system,” but a workaround has been implemented with no significant issues.

Inspiration4 shared photos from the crew’s time in orbit and gives a view of the wide view from the “dome” window of the spacecraft.

This is the third time SpaceX has brought astronauts back from space, and the second time for this capsule – which previously flew the Crew 1 mission for NASA on a trip that returned in May.

Both previous SpaceX astronaut missions crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, making them the first to return in the Atlantic.

The Inspiration4 crew in the Crew Dragon capsule Resilience after the hatch was reopened. From left: Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, Pilot Sian Proctor, Commander Jared Isaacman, and Medical Officer Hayley Arceneaux.

SpaceX

The mission also comes with several other milestones for Musks Companies including: the first private SpaceX spaceflight, the first completely unprofessional crew to become astronauts, the first black space traveler, the youngest American astronaut to date, and the first person to fly in space with a prosthesis.

Inspiration4 was paid for by Isaacman for an undisclosed amount with the primary aerospace goal of raising $ 200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman, a billionaire entrepreneur, personally donated $ 100 million, with the Mission raising an additional $ 53.8 million in donations as of Saturday night, according to the Mission’s website.

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