Elon Musk has surprised his first crew of space tourists with a welcome gift home after their groundbreaking flight to orbit ended Saturday night. Musk donated $50 million to children’s charity St Jude.
- The billionaire founder of SpaceX chirped. Soon after it rained in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, he was blowing money toward the mission’s stated goal of raising $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.
- “Count me in for $50m,” Musk wrote, in response to a tweet from the four-person crew that they were: “Happy. Healthy. Home.” The crew asked for the public’s help in reaching their fundraising target.
- Jared Isaacman, the sponsor and commander of the mission known as Inspiration4, paid SpaceX undisclosed millions for the trip and threw in the first $100m for charity himself.
- The all-amateur crew was the first to circle the world without a professional astronaut. The fully automated Dragon capsule reached an unusually high altitude of 363 miles after liftoff on Wednesday. The passengers savoured views of Earth through a big bubble-shaped window added to the top of the capsule.
- The four were the first space travellers to end their flight in the Atlantic since Apollo 9 in 1969. SpaceX’s two previous crewed splashdowns, carrying astronauts for Nasa, were in the Gulf of Mexico.
- The crew members were due to have medical checks before going to Kennedy Space Center by helicopter for a reunion with their families.
Furthermore, nearly 600 people have reached space, a scorecard that began 60 years ago and is expected to accelerate as space tourism heats up.