SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk took a dig at President Joe Biden on Sunday night, suggesting the president slept through his space company’s first all-civilian space flight.
The private space mission, dubbed “Inspiration4,” saw an all-civilian crew of astronauts orbit the earth for three days before splashing back down on Saturday evening. By Sunday, at least one of Musk’s 60 million Twitter followers wondered when Biden would congratulate the SpaceX team, which also raised over $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Musk personally contributed $50 million to the fundraising effort.
The Twitter user tweeted, “The President of the United States has refused to even acknowledge the 4 newest American astronauts who helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for St. Jude. What’s your theory on why that is?”
Musk responded, “He’s still sleeping.”
Musk’s joke about a sleeping Biden is similar to one made by former President Donald Trump, who frequently referred to Biden as “Sleepy Joe” on the 2020 campaign trail.
As of Monday morning, the Biden White House still has yet to offer any congratulations to the Inspiration4 crew.
While the Biden White House has remained silent on the new space flight, SpaceX has earned praise from NASA administrator Bill Nelson, who tweeted, “Congratulations, #Inspiration4! With today’s splashdown, you’ve helped demonstrate that low-Earth orbit is open for business.”
SpaceX’s competitors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin also offered congratulations.
Boeing tweeted, “Welcome home, @Inspiration4x. May your journey to space aboard the @SpaceX Crew Dragon continue to inspire and benefit @StJude’s incredible work in research for treatments and cures for childhood cancer. [Photo Credit] @johnkrausphotos. Donate to St. Jude here: https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/other-ways/inspiration4.html.”
Musk’s billionaire peer and rival, Jeff Bezos, who runs the competing private space company, Blue Origin, also congratulated Musk.
On Thursday, Bezos tweeted, “Congratulations to @ElonMusk and the @SpaceX team on their successful Inspiration4 launch last night. Another step towards a future where space is accessible to all of us.”
Bezos’ Blue Origins had its own first civilian space flight in July, with Bezos, his brother and several other space tourists.
Along with marking SpaceX’s first all-civilian private space flight, CNBC reported the Inspiration4 mission also saw the first Black woman to serve as a spacecraft pilot, Sian Proctor.
The mission set another first with the first person to fly in space with a prosthesis, Haley Arceneaux. At 29-years-old, Arceneaux is also the youngest American to become an astronaut to date.