Image: Jared Isaacman, Dragon spacecraft. Source: SpaceX
Jared Isaacman, a billionaire start-up founder and accomplished jet pilot, announced Monday he is chartering a four-seat SpaceX flight and plans to take three “everyday” people along for the ride with him.
The mission, called Inspiration4, will be the first to launch a crew consisting solely of first-time civilians into space and is slated to take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida in October.
Besides fulfilling his dream of flying in space, Isaacman will use the private, multi-day trip to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and will raffle off one of the seats to benefit childhood cancer research.
Anyone donating to St. Jude Hospital in February 2021 will be entered into a random drawing to accompany Isaacman. The third seat has been reserved for a female health care worker at St. Jude, and the fourth seat will go to a business owner who uses Shift4 Payments Inc. (NYSE: FOUR), Isaacman’s payments processing company.
During a virtual press conference Monday, Isaacman said, “If we’re going to continue making advances up there in space, then we have an obligation to do the same down here on Earth.”
“That’s why Inspiration4 endeavors to mobilize the biggest fundraising and awareness campaign in the 59-year history of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,”said Isaacman, who has committed $100 million to St. Jude out of his own pocket.
SpaceX and Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) chief Elon Musk called the mission “an important milestone toward enabling access to space for everyone.” Musk noted that while expensive, these initial private flights will drive down costs over time.
He also said these trips will enable SpaceX to continue funding Super Heavy and Starship, two deep space vehicles being developed in Texas.
Isaacman did not disclose how much he’s paying for the flight, but said the anticipated donation to St. Jude “vastly exceeds the cost of the mission,” the Associated Press reported.
For the mission, Isaacman, who is rated to fly both commercial and military aircraft, will serve as commander. An announcement on who will be joining Isaacman is expected by March.
His fellow travelers will have to undergo a series of background, medical and psychological checks in addition to extensive mission training. They will also be subject to non-disclosure agreements and high-risk activity waivers.
On Monday, Musk told reporters that, for the most part, anyone who can handle a ride on “The Incredible Hulk” rollercoaster at Universal Orlando should be able to manage the trip to space.
Source: Equities News