After their historic voyage to orbit concluded on Saturday night Sept. 18, Elon Musk stunned his first all-private crew of space travelers with a $50 million donation to the children’s charity St Jude.
Soon after their Atlantic ocean splashdown off the Florida coast, the billionaire SpaceX creator tweeted that he was donating the money to assist the mission’s declared objective of generating $200 million for the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.
In response to a tweet from the four-person team saying they were “Happy. Healthy. Home.” Musk responded, “Count me in for $50M.” The group requested public assistance in meeting their fundraising goal.
Jared Isaacman, the mission’s sponsor and commander, paid SpaceX an unknown sum for the journey and personally donated the first $100 million to charity.
Isaacman, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and pilot, said he intended to demonstrate that regular people could launch themselves into orbit. He organized a lottery for one of the four seats and a competition for clients of his payment-processing company, Shift4 Payments, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for another.
Their SpaceX spacecraft landed in the water shortly before dusk, not far from where their three-day journey had began.
— Hayley Arceneaux (@ArceneauxHayley) September 19, 2021
The all-amateur crew was the first to complete a round of the globe without the assistance of a professional astronaut. After liftoff on Wednesday, the fully autonomous Dragon spacecraft reached an altitude of 363 miles. Passengers were treated to views of Earth through a large bubble-shaped glass installed to the capsule’s top.
Since Apollo 9 in 1969, the four astronauts became the first to conclude their journey in the Atlantic. Both of SpaceX’s previous crewed splashdowns, which carried Nasa astronauts, took place in the Gulf of Mexico. The astronauts were scheduled to get medical exams before flying to Kennedy Space Center for a reunion with their families.
Nearly 600 individuals have visited space, a tally that began 60 years ago and is projected to rise as space tourism becomes more popular.
Reed expects up to six private trips per year, spaced between NASA astronaut missions. Four SpaceX flights have already been scheduled to transport paying clients to the space station, with former NASA astronauts accompanying them.
The first is scheduled for early next year, and three businessmen have agreed to pay $55 million each. Russia also intends to send an actor and a film director next month to film the event, as well as a Japanese billionaire in December.
Customers looking for short flights are flocking to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. In July, the two rode their own rockets to the edge of space. Their flights were between 10 and 15 minutes long.