Elon Musk is giving the SpaceX Inspiration4 crew a gigantic welcome home gift. The all-civilian crew became the first-ever to orbit the Earth without a professional astronaut in the pilots seat. Now, they’ve set their sights on another new height: raising $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, tweeted he’d chip in $50 million to help them reach that goal.
On Saturday, the Inspiration4 team tweeted out a photo of Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski just after their capsuled splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean. They had orbited the Earth for three days. But they said their mission wasn’t over. They wanted to raise an astronomical amount of money for the children’s hospital in Tennessee.
The Inspiration4’s mission is major step forward in space travel. And that wasn’t lost on them or the SpaceX Mission Control.
“Your mission has shown the world that space is for all of us,” Mission Control said to the crew as they floated toward the Atlantic Ocean beneath three giant parachutes.
“Thanks so much SpaceX, it was a heck of a ride for us,” replied Mission commander Jared Isaacman.
Currently, only the absurdly wealthy can afford trips into space. A recent government report said a trip to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule will cost you about $55 million for a seat.
But Elon Musk says he expects that price point to fall faster than a meteor in the coming decades.
“When you’ve got a brand new mode of transportation, you have to have pioneers,” he said in February. “Things are expensive at first, and as you’re able to increase the launch rate, increase the production rate, refine the technology, it becomes less expensive and accessible to more people. We’ll all be with Jared on the journey and we’ll be seeing it in real-time. It’s an important milestone on the road toward making access to space more affordable.”
Elon Musk Thinks SpaceX Will Put Humans on the Moon by 2024
In 2019, President Donald Trump’s administration tasked NASA with returning to the moon via its Artemis Program. The directive was to get humans back on lunar soil by 2024 to set the foundation for potential long-term colonies. Subsequent delays have put that timeline in jeopardy.
But not according to Elon Musk. The tech billionaire and space pioneer said he thinks SpaceX’s giant Starship will be able to get Americans to the moon “probably sooner” than 2024.
NASA chose to go with SpaceX’s Starship over other potential lunar landers from companies like Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origins. But Blue Origin is suing over that decision. NASA agreed to stop working on the project until Nov. 1 to expedite the legal case, Space News reported. Another delay in the process.
Musk says he’s not worried. Someone on Twitter asked him if he thought SpaceX could make the 2024 deadline with all of the delays. Musk replied “probably sooner.”