Martin Guitar Sends A Ukulele Into Orbit
C.F. Martin & Co. sent a specially designed ukulele to SpaceX headquarters in California that accompanied the crew of Inspiration4. The instrument, which was played in space, has returned to Earth and is scheduled for auction, with the proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Earlier this month, the ukulele blasted off with the crew of Inspiratio4 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The crew spent three days orbiting Earth in a spacecraft developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Inspiration4, manned by the first all-civilian crew, was commanded by Jared Isaacman, Founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a payment processing solutions company. Also included on the crew is Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude, where she was once a patient undergoing childhood cancer treatment; Dr. Sian Proctor, a geoscientist and college professor from Arizona; and Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran who now works in the aerospace industry.
The soprano ukulele destined for the stars weighs less than a pound. Standing about 13.5 inches tall and six inches wide, the instrument was crafted from mahogany logs that sank into a river in Belize more than 200 years ago. Martin, who reached out to Inspiration4 when they heard about the mission, felt it was a great opportunity to partner with another Lehigh Valley company, Isaacman’s Shift4, to help fight childhood cancer.
Mike Nelson, Martin's Director of Global Marketing, said, "We applaud the Inspiration4 mission, not only because it pushed the boundaries of discovery and exploration, but because it called attention to and raised money for an amazing charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At C.F. Martin, we have made giving back, supporting our communities, and protecting our planet a part of our day-to-day operations. We hope more organizations will do the same. And as an instrument manufacturer, we are proud that a Martin ukulele was part of this historic flight, as it underscores the fact that music plays such an important role in all of our lives, no matter where we might be." Besides the money raised from the ukulele auction, the NAMM Member has pledged an additional $4,000 in donations to both the Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Surprisingly enough, this is not the first time Martin Guitars has ventured into space. The manufacturer's first trip to space was in 1994 when the first guitar rode alongside astronaut Pierre Thuot onboard space shuttle Columbia. After that, the Martin Backpacker took 224 trips around Earth before returning to find its permanent home in the NAMM Member's Nazareth, Pennsylvania factory, now on display as part of a historical exhibit about the company.