SpaceX’s missions have taken the world by storm in recent years, both because of the significant advances the company has made in spaceflight, and also because of the company’s efforts to revive global interest in space exploration.
SpaceX has also been at the forefront of research and development, not only in terms of its own fleet and space technology, but also on behalf of humanity. I’ve written a few articles on this front before, including how SpaceX launched supplies to study the health effects of space travel and how SpaceX’s work with Starlink could revolutionize access to healthcare.
Recently, the company is making efforts to raise awareness about cancer care. Specifically, if conditions permit, SpaceX plans to launch its Inspiration4 mission today, September 15, 2021. The mission “is the world’s first fully civilian mission in orbit”, and is named “in recognition of the four-member crew who raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – MAY 30: Spacex founder Elon Musk celebrates after the successful launch of… [+] the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon manned spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Earlier in the day, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley launched an inaugural flight and will be the first humans since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 to be launched from the United States. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The specific donation page explains in detail: “In 1962, the same year an American orbited the Earth for the first time, a unique hospital was opened in Memphis, Tennessee, dedicated to a different kind of uncharted territory: finding healing for children. with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, regardless of race, ethnicity, creed or a family’s ability to pay. Today we stand on the horizon of a new frontier in space: the first fully civilian space expedition. At the same time, science has here on Earth advancing our fight to end childhood cancer Treatments invented in St. Jude helped increase the overall childhood cancer survival rate in the United States from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. however, in many developing countries, fewer than one in five children with cancer will survive and St. Jude is on a bold mission to change that.”
“We have set an ambitious goal to raise money to give hope to all children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Your contribution will advance the life-saving work of St. Jude and help us create a brighter future for children everywhere.”
At the time of writing this article, the tracker has nearly $30,000,000 in donations to date, explaining that this money will cover thousands of “major surgical procedures, red blood cell transfusions, days of hospital care, [and] days of meals for St. Jude families.”
The fully civilian crew includes Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Dr. Sian Proctor. Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, is the benefactor and commander of the mission.
Inspiration4 mission commander Jared Isaacman, founder and chief executive officer of Shift4… [+] Payments, stands in front of a portrait for the restored first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) on February 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. Isaacman’s all-civilian Inspiration4 mission will raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through a donation-based sweepstakes to select a crew member. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON/AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
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In addition to promoting support and resources for cancer and pediatric care, the mission itself is a multi-day journey that also involves science experiments to advance life sciences and space research.
With the world eagerly watching, it is indeed an inspiration to see the monumental efforts of SpaceX and its crew to raise awareness around such an important cause.