Joe Biden was taking a well-deserved rest at his beach house (kidding) so perhaps he didn’t notice that the first all-civilian space crew successfully returned to earth over the weekend. On Saturday Elon Musk’s SpaceX completed a historic private spaceflight yet the president hasn’t bothered to congratulate Musk for the accomplishment. Musk hasn’t received a phone call or so much as a tweet to congratulate them.
If Biden isn’t a big fan of Musk, who cares? He should at least acknowledge the accomplishment of four gutsy Americans who ventured into space without histories of formal astronaut training. The spaceflight served as a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The three-day landmark Inspiration4 mission has raised over $60 million from the public so far. Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who bankrolled the spaceflight also pledged $100 million and Musk added $50 million. That will pay for the treatment of a lot of children.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 18, 2021
The world’s second-richest man would like a little attention from the leader of the free world. Kudos came in from all around, including from NASA administrator Bill Nelson, a Biden appointee. He offered his congratulations to the crew multiple times. Nelson is a former astronaut.
The flight was bankrolled by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who commanded the mission aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, alongside geologist Sian Proctor, data engineer Chris Sembroski and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital employee Hayley Arceneaux. The quartet splashed down safely off the coast of Florida on Saturday.
Hayley Arceneaux, I’ll note here, was a St. Jude patient at the age of 10. She is fitted with a prosthetic limb.
I watched some of Inspiration4’s landing in the Atlantic Ocean and the crew’s disembarkment on Saturday. It’s such an unimaginable experience for most of us. We all aren’t flying around with jetpacks like The Jetsons as many of us thought about as children but we are seeing the beginning of space tourism now. I may not want to take a flight myself but more power to those among us who do. The crew spent three days circling the planet at an altitude of more than 335 miles, about 75 miles higher than the International Space Station and on a level with the Hubble Space Telescope.
Inspiration4 is the latest in a string of pioneering space tourism missions this year. Richard Branson flew to the edge of space on the first fully crewed flight of his Virgin Galactic spaceplane in July. Nine days later, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos cruised a bit higher with three other passengers on his New Shepard spacecraft.
Unlike those flights, which lasted under 15 minutes each, the Inspiration4 mission was a much more complex venture that saw the four passengers performing scientific research during the multiple day flight as they orbited Earth over 40 times.
Splashdown! Welcome back to planet Earth, @Inspiration4x! pic.twitter.com/94yLjMBqWt
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 18, 2021
Elon Musk has 60M Twitter followers. One asked him why he thought Biden hasn’t offered congratulations. Musk’s response – “He’s sleeping.’
He’s still sleeping
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 19, 2021
Most people took that as a play on Trump’s nickname for Biden, Sleepy Joe. Biden supporters were quick to point out that the president has a lot on his plate right now. That’s true but he felt free enough for another weekend trip to one of his homes and he doesn’t miss an opportunity to tweet about whatever is on his mind, as a rule. Or, at least his staff tweets for him. Why so silent now?