SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission landed safely on the coast of Florida on Saturday night after completing its first-ever civil earth orbit journey. Including Sam Adams and Martin Guitars, the three-day space trip aims to raise US$200 million for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is equivalent to raising money for very expensive space rides in emerging markets.In fact, the task is It is not surprising that there are brand opportunities, because private space launches are already large-scale streaming and media events.
Jared Isaacman, the billionaire founder and CEO of e-commerce company Ship4Payments, funded this well-known trip. The crew also includes the pilot of the mission, Sian Proctor, professor of geology; Hayley Arsenal, St. Jude Physician Assistant; with Chris Sebrowski, An engineer Won his ticket in the lotteryPassengers are not professional astronauts, they rely on SpaceX’s autonomous Crew Dragon capsule to ensure the smooth progress of the mission.
The Inspiration4 space capsule took off after 8pm Eastern Time on September 15 and was launched into space by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and then entered the Earth’s orbit about 80 miles from the International Space Station (ISS).After about three days of zero gravity and magnificent views-not to mention ukulele performances and Video call with St. Jude patients — The crew safely returned to Earth. In late September, Netflix will release the long-form finale of the five-part reality TV series about the mission. (The first four episodes of the show are already available, Netflix Streaming Publish on its YouTube page. )
The mission also involves payloads of various equipment and collectibles, including goods that can now be purchased through charity auctions.These items range from space-themed watches made by IWC to stuffed rocket ship toys based on animated characters from the Netflix series Space racer. There is one $2,000 Martin Guitar Ukulele Sembroski played on the boat.
Sam Adams, the official beer maker of Inspiration4, also arranged 66 pounds of hops into space, and will brew beer with them after the mission is completed (the beer will be available later in the fall).Perhaps the strangest item is the large number of irreplaceable tokens stored on the iPhone, including NFT recording of a Kings of Leon song This became the first music NFT played in space. Bidding for these items began on Thursday, and the auction will end in November.After the mission, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Say in tweet He will donate $50 million to St. Jude to ensure that the Inspiration4 mission can achieve its fundraising goals.
Although the sale of things that have been in space is not new, it is about to become more common. NASA is a government agency overseen by Congress that has traditionally restricted the commercialization of space missions. But with the increase in the number of non-NASA space flights, the opportunities for space commodity and product implantation are also increasing. Now, because commercial aerospace companies do not necessarily operate under strict NASA restrictions, they are competing for new marketing opportunities in the universe: sending products to space and then selling them back to Earth.
A brief history of space commodities
NASA itself does not usually sell items that have been in space, but items from past NASA missions have entered the market. At the same time, astronauts are civil servants. Before they retire from government work, the law does not allow personal profit from their positions, restricting when they can sell any personal belongings they are allowed to carry on missions. Other valuables that enter space during NASA missions are usually provided to museums or, in rare cases, sold by the government.
Some of the most noticeable items have travelled to and from space and returned before being sold to the public Gemini, Apollo and Mercury Project, Some of them happened to save equipment from their tasks.
Regulations on what astronauts can keep from these initial missions Equivalent to a verbal agreement At the time, this led to some disputes about who owns the rights of these cultural relics. But in 2012, President Obama signed a bill confirming that these astronauts do indeed have ownership. In many of these souvenirsNow, these items are expensive: a bag from the Apollo 11 mission that Neil Armstrong used to carry lunar dust samples Sold at Sotheby’s for US$1.8 million in 2017.
NASA also has strict regulations on advertising or endorsement products, and it hardly uses products with brands or images.Although the various signs of the space agency appear from Vans shoes arrive Forever 21 tops, The images are usually in the public domain, which means they are free for anyone to use.
Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of science and popular culture, worked with astronauts in souvenir auctions. “The reason they flew in the first place-there was no commercial purpose behind them. Their value does have historical significance.”
In recent years, NASA has begun to welcome some commercial transactions. In 2019, the The space agency officially announced It will allow astronauts 90 hours of crew time each year to engage in marketing activities commissioned by private companies.Like last year’s Estee Lauder Paid astronaut Take a photo of facial serum in zero gravity on the International Space Station.The International Space Station National Laboratory also Cooperation with Adidas Test its football on the space station, although it is unclear how useful it is to test a football in space.
All of this means product implantation and promotional gimmicks in space without NASA in history. However, they got help from Roscosmos, which is equivalent to NASA in Russia.In the past few decades, the Russian Space Agency has helped to advertise milk, Windows, Pepsi, with Even Pizza Hut’s personal pizza. If Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Whether it foreshadows something about to happen-the movie There is a Hilton hotel on the moon — The tendency of private companies to use space as a marketing opportunity will only increase.
“This kind of space exploration is not just about exploring the frontiers of science or technology,” explained Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. “It’s still exploring, you know, where can the economy go? Where can we expand economic activity outside the planet?”
Commercial space travel means space equipment will become more common
Three private space companies have begun to send very wealthy civilians into space: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and now Elon Musk’s SpaceX. These three companies not only sold their own products, but also cleared the way for space-themed brand promotion and marketing opportunities.
For example, Virgin Galactic collaborates with Under Armour to sell brands Sportswear, include”Space suit“, Virgin Galactic customers wear it during the flight, and then take it home. This space travel company also cooperated with Land Rover to create an astronaut version of the Range Rover for ordinary people only. Who has bought a ticket for a Virgin Galactic flight. SUV include A puddle lamp in the shape of a space plane, and a cup holder made from a piece of the landing skid that Virgin Galactic flew for the first time.
Blue Origin also used its first manned mission (including Bezos himself) to launch Rivian’s first electric car (one of the automaker’s largest investors is Amazon, where Bezos used to work).
However, some of these marketing opportunities happen more accidentally. For example, after Bezos threw skittles over the space capsule during his Blue Origin flight in July, Skittles soon announced that it would release a limited-time candy package called “Zero Gravity Skittles.” The candy maker told Recode that the move was not coordinated in advance.
Although the trend of space-based branding and marketing activities seems to show the worst qualities of American capitalism, some people believe that all these have greater benefits. Most people cannot afford space tickets because the price of space tourism missions is still hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the merchandise and collectibles from these commercial missions mean that private space companies can still sell consumers the feeling that they are at least part of this moment in space history, but for less money.
“By promoting our brand, we can fly with them,” Robert Pearlman, Space historian The person who runs the space collection website collectSpace told Recode. “We can learn more about ourselves in the development of space flight and say,’Yes, I may not be able to afford the cost of flying to space, but I eat skittles.'”
Sponsored content from space celebrities may not be far away. Many celebrities I have booked Virgin Galactic tickets, and Virgin Galactic has plans to bring TikTok Science Influencer In one of its upcoming flights. At the same time, the private aerospace company Axiom Space Signed multiple flight contracts with SpaceX, Is providing a space-themed “content innovation platform” to help companies conduct product demonstrations and create advertisements in space.more Sky-based reality show It is also in progress, including race shows aimed at sending civilians into space.Discovery Channel is developing a new type called Who wants to be an astronaut, Earlier this year, NASA signed an agreement called Space hero This will send a lucky participant to the International Space Station.
Although commercial space travel is exciting for many people, the freshness of billionaires and ordinary people traveling to space may not last forever. However, keenly aware of the historical nature of its flight, the Inspiration4 mission is trying to capitalize on the enthusiasm that this activity brings — for charity — even after returning to Earth. When the bidding ends in November, we will see how much people are willing to pay for this history.
Update, Monday, September 20th at 11 AM EST: This article has been updated to clarify that the Inspiration4 mission is safely returned to Earth.