SpaceX’s latest mission was an infomercial (for charity)
SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission safely splashed down just off the coast of Florida on Saturday night, after completing the first-ever all-civilian trip to Earth’s orbit. With the help of companies including Sam Adams and Martin Guitars, the three-day trip to space aimed to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in what amounts to a charitable spin on the emerging market for very expensive joyrides to space. The fact that the mission was filled with branding opportunities isn’t surprising, given that private space launches are already big streaming and media events.
Jared Isaacman, the billionaire founder and CEO of the e-commerce company Ship4Payments, funded the much-publicized trip. The crew also included the mission’s pilot, Sian Proctor, a geology professor; Hayley Arceneaux, a St. Jude physician assistant; and Chris Sembroski, an engineer who won his ticket in a raffle. None of the passengers are professional astronauts, and they relied on SpaceX’s autonomous Crew Dragon capsule to ensure the mission went smoothly.