SpaceX CEO Elon Musk poses with the crew before launch on September 15, 2021.
John Kraus / Inspiration4
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk helped achieve the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fundraising goal of the Inspiration4 spaceflight, just hours after his company returned the crew from orbit.
The main goal of the Inspiration4 mission, which launched on Wednesday and splashed down on Saturday, was to raise $200 million for St. Jude.
Inspiration4 commander Jared Isaacman, a billionaire entrepreneur who purchased the flight from SpaceX, donated $100 million personally to St. Jude. The Inspiration4 mission had raised another $60.2 million in donations, before Musk pledged to contribute $50 million himself – pushing the campaign’s total raised to more than $210 million.
“Count me in for $50M,” Musk said in a tweet on Saturday.
The historic Inspiration4 mission with a private crew spent three days in space, carrying Isaacman, pilot Sian Proctor, medical officer Hayley Arceneaux and mission specialist Chris Sembroski. The crew orbited the Earth at an altitude as high as 590 kilometers, which is above the International Space Station and the furthest humans have traveled above the surface in years.
The spaceflight achieved multiple milestones, including: The first private SpaceX spaceflight, the first entirely nonprofessional crew to become astronauts, the first Black female spacecraft 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.