Shift4 Payments founder and CEO Jared Isaacman has the most "I'm a cool, down-to Earth founder and CEO" name possibly ever.
Which is ironic because Earth is exactly where he's leaving with SpaceX sometime towards the end of this year and donating two of the remaining three seats in support of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Unsatisfied with becoming the first private space venture to send astronauts to the International Space Station, Elon Musk said "MOAR" (not really) and wants to send one of his *peers* into the deep unknown as a historic first as well.
Come to think of it, why hasn't Musk gone yet?
Imagine having your own space company and not going into space...
Caption: Saying these two are billionaires is like saying you're a surgeon because you cut a lemon in half.
The 37-year-old Isaacman is an accomplished pilot and will command "Resilience", a SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule currently docked at the International Space Station on the Crew-1 mission, SpaceX's first contracted crewed flight to the orbiting lab for NASA.
Isaacman's launch, now known as the "Inspiration4" mission, will feature no professional astronauts aboard. Hence the donation of the other seats.
Also there will be no rendezvous with the ISS.
While the full journey is still being worked out, Musk stressed that most of the details will be left up to Isaacman.
"It will be the first-ever all-private crewed orbital mission in history," Musk said during a teleconference with reporters on the 2nd of February AEST.
“This is an important milestone toward enabling access to space for everyone — because at first, things are very expensive, and it’s only through missions like this that we’re able to bring the cost down over time and make space accessible to all,”
At this point in time, Resilience will lift off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, spend a realistic estimate of two-four days orbiting Earth and before reentry and landing in the ocean. (Is it still landing if it's in the ocean? Is it a watering?..)
“If you want to stay up longer, that’s fine, too," Musk continued.
Caption "What's this button do...?" *violently sucked off into the vacuum of space*
With a two-pronged surge in the plight for bettering our post-2020 mental state, the launch is a breath of fresh air.
Inspiration4 should inspire humanity in our continued yearning to reach the stars, especially for the common folk. And at the same time, the mission itself will help raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The hospital is a leading institution in the fight against cancer and other diseases, and it treats kids free of charge.
"Inspiration4 is the realization of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars," Isaacman, the founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments and an aviation and spaceflight enthusiast since kindergarten, said in a statement. "I appreciate the tremendous responsibility that comes with commanding this mission, and I want to use this historic moment to inspire humanity while helping to tackle childhood cancer here on Earth."
Of the three extra seats, one has been allocated to an unannounced employee, realising a childhood dream or an attempt at making a flerfer see reason. During the call on February 2nd AEST, Isaacman revealed that the employee is a woman, "and I know she's looking forward to the launch as much as me."
The one remaining seat is yet to be designated.
The other St. Jude seat will go to a member of the public via a fundraising raffle that Isaacman hopes raises a total of at least $200 million for the hospital. (He has already committed to giving St. Jude $100 million from his own pocket.) You don't have to donate any money to enter this raffle, however. To learn more, visit the Inspiration4 website.
That site also has information for anyone interested in vying for the fourth seat, which will go to "a deserving entrepreneur who utilizes the new Shift4Shop eCommerce platform," according to the statement. That entrepreneur will be chosen by a competition that runs through Feb. 28.
Inspiration4 will soon raise awareness about the mission in a big way — via a commercial that will air in the first quarter of Super Bowl LV on the 8th of February AEST, said Isaacman, who in 2011 co-founded Draken International, which trains pilots for the U.S. military.
Caption: At least they're not hurting for radar...
Musk sees the revenue created going towards his plans for Starship, SpaceX's next-generation transportation system designed to get people and payloads to the moon and Mars.
During the conference, Musk said the mission is "an important milestone towards enabling access to space for everyone. At first, things are very expensive, and it's only through missions like this that we're able to bring the costs down over time and make space accessible to all."
If all goes according to plan, SpaceX will launch yet more private citizens to orbit not long after Inspiration4 returns home. Houston-based Axiom Space will use Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon to get three paying customers (and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, now a vice president at Axiom) to the International Space Station as early as January 2022.
How high is going to space on your billionaire to-do list?
It's gotta be up there! Pun intended.
Thanks for reading and please share with an astro-friend and comment your thoughts to spread ARSE and thrust Australia into the deep unknown...