Funko reaches new heights: Company’s ‘Big Bang’ Pop! figure was part of crew on SpaceX mission

Funko, the Everett, Wash.-based maker of Pop! figurines and other collectibles, has expanded its market reach. To space.

The company tweeted an image Thursday showing one of its popular toys floating high above Earth, thanks to the fact that it was packed along for the ride aboard the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission by Everett native Chris Sembroski.

Last week, the crew of @SpaceX ’s first private flight included Everett, WA native Chris Sembroski. Now we can really claim Pop! is outta this world! In recognition of his feat, Funko has made a donation to @StJude Credit: Chris Sembroski and the Goff family.

— Funko (@OriginalFunko) September 23, 2021

Sembroski was one of four civilian crew members who blasted off last Wednesday and orbited for three days before splashing down Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. An Air Force veteran, space enthusiast and data engineer, Sembroski, 42, got his chance to fly courtesy of a college friend who won a charity sweepstakes and arranged for Sembroski to go instead.

The mission to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was funded by Jared Isaacman, the billionaire founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, who is thought to have paid more than $100 million for the opportunity. The two other crew members were Hayley Arceneaux, a cancer survivor who’s now a physician assistant at St. Jude, and Sian Proctor, an educator and artist who won an online competition.

Funko said in its tweet that the company made a donation to St. Jude.

Funko licenses characters from across the pop culture spectrum, including television, movies, comics, sports and more. The floating, orbiting Funko Pop! was a depiction of the character Howard Wolowitz, from the television comedy series “Big Bang Theory.” On the show, Wolowitz is an aerospace engineer and ex-astronaut who eats a particular brand of children’s cereal and gets the nickname “Froot Loops” from another former astronaut.

In his own tweet, Sembroski thanked Isaacman for snapping the photo and said “Froot Loops enjoyed his view.”

He was just floating up there.. good timing for the ???? .. Thanks @OriginalFunko for the donation to @StJude

— Jared Isaacman (@rookisaacman) September 23, 2021

Michael Goff, whose relation to Sembroski is not known, is apparently the owner of the Pop! and he tweeted about sending Wolowitz along for the ride.

It was the only Funko Pop in my collection that made logical sense to send with Chris into space. I didn’t expect him to get such a great picture.

— Michael Goff (@dresden69) September 23, 2021

Knowing the collectibility of Pop! characters in pristine condition, one Funko fan even asked about having the figurine out of its box. Goff tweeted that he plans to rebox it when it returns.

The was the hardest part for me handing the pop over, removing it from the box. It is still on my shelf waiting for Howard to come home.

— Michael Goff (@dresden69) September 23, 2021

The Pop! figurine didn’t make this tweeted image, but here’s a photo of Sembroski and his crewmates with an Earthly backdrop:

Our #Inspiration4 crew took many amazing photos in space during their three-day mission, including this out-of-this-world selfie!

Jared, Hayley, Sian, and Chris are back home on Earth, but our team is still fundraising for @StJude. Join that effort:

— Inspiration4 (@inspiration4x) September 19, 2021

Geek life Space Big bang theory Funko Inspiration4 Spacex