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US billionaire buys SpaceX flight to orbit with 3 others

February 3, 2021 6:57 am
U.S. billionaire Jared Isaacman [Source: AP News]

A U.S. billionaire who made a fortune in tech and fighter jets is buying an entire SpaceX flight and plans to take three “everyday” people with him to circle the globe this year.

Besides fulfilling his dream of flying in space, Jared Isaacman announced Monday that he aims to use the private trip to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, half coming from his own pockets.

A female health care worker for St. Jude already has been selected for the mission. Anyone donating to St. Jude in February will be entered into a random drawing for seat No. 3. The fourth seat will go to a business owner who uses Shift4 Payments, Isaacman’s credit card processing company in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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“I truly want us to live in a world 50 or 100 years from now where people are jumping in their rockets like the Jetsons and there are families bouncing around on the moon with their kid in a spacesuit,” Isaacman, who turns 38 next week, told The Associated Press.

“I also think if we are going to live in that world, we better conquer childhood cancer along the way.”

He’s bought a Super Bowl ad to publicize the mission, dubbed Inspiration4 and targeted for an October launch from Florida. The other passengers aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule — what Isaacman calls a diverse group “from everyday walks of life” — will be announced next month. SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk expects the flight to last two to four days.

Isaacman’s trip is the latest deal announced for private space travel — and it’s No. 1 on the runway for an orbital trip.

“This is an important milestone toward enabling access to space for everyone,” Musk said during a press conference Monday from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. While expensive, these initial private flights will drive down costs over time, he noted.

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