SpaceX recently announced plans for the first-ever all-civilian space mission, raising money for St Judes Children’s Hospital. Planned for late 2021, Jared Isaacman, a 37-year-old entrepreneur and seasoned pilot, will lead the flight. They’ve started seeking crew members to tag along. In a press release, the company said the crew would ride with Isaacman aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.
Isaacman, the CEO of Shift4 Payments, said he donated $100 million to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He hopes to help raise $200 million more. To reach this goal, he said that those who donate at least $10 would have a chance of being picked.
His company will select three crew members “to represent the mission pillars of leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity,” according to a press release. They’ve already chosen one person, Isaacman said during a press call. The full crew “will be announced in the weeks ahead,” SpaceX said.
The mission, named Inspiration4, will garner support for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The journey marks a tremendous step forward for human spaceflight and exploration. Shift4 Payments announced the mission during the first quarter of this year’s Super Bowl. During this introduction, Isaacman invited all viewers to support and become part of this historic mission.
Isaacman said in the press release: “Today’s announcement is the first step of a very exciting journey. In the lead-up to launch, we’ll share new ways to support and follow our mission preparation and execution with a focus on inspiring and helping others.”
“Inspiration4 is the realization of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars,” said Isaacman. “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.”
Details about the mission to inspire support for St Jude Children’s Hospital
The flight will launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. Before the flight, crew members will undergo special training from SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft. Training will include “a specific focus on orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity, and other forms of stress testing.”
They will also participate in emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises, and mission simulations. After launch, careful monitoring will take place by the SpaceX mission control as the spacecraft orbits Earth every 90 minutes. The Falcon 9 will follow a customized flight path.
Crew members will spend up to five days in the Crew Dragon capsule. Dragon will reenter Earth’s atmosphere for a soft water landing off Florida’s coast at the end of the mission.
Isaacman gave two seats to St Jude on the Inspiration4 mission. He reserved the first seat for a St Jude ambassador with direct ties to the mission. This person should embody the pillar of Hope in addition to the hospital’s vision – compassion, unity, equality, and inclusion. The second seat will exemplify the pillar of Generosity. This month, the public can enter for a chance to join the journey and support St Jude Hospital’s noble mission.
Isaacman hopes to raise the $200 million to support the hospital’s multi-billion dollar expansion, which will expand research advancements. It will also save more children around the world. He will give even more support to the fundraising effort by offering other prizes. These include flights in a military jet as well as flight gear.
The entrepreneur previously raised funds for other charities as well.
Isaacman holds a license to fly both commercial and military aircraft. He also holds several world records, including a Speed-Around-The-World flight to raise money and awareness for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Also, he took part in over 100 airshows as part of the Black Diamond Jet Team. He dedicated every performance to some charity.
In 2011, Isaacman co-founded what eventually became the world’s largest private air force, Draken International. This allowed pilots to train for the United States Armed Forces.
“The same year St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital broke boundaries by opening its doors, the first American orbited the Earth in 1962,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President, and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. “From the beginning, St. Jude has been at the forefront of innovation and inclusion, leading in cancer research, care, and treatment for some of the world’s sickest children regardless of race, ethnicity, beliefs, or a family’s ability to pay.”
“This partnership brings two missions together to create one incredible moment in time that will make an impact for years to come on the global effort to cure childhood cancer.”
Isaacman will collaborate with Shift4 Payments to offer up the last crew seat. This final crew seat represents the prosperity mission pillar. It will go to an entrepreneur who uses the new Shift4Shop eCommerce platform. This gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to start and build successful eCommerce businesses online.
Current and new Shift4Shop customers will have an exclusive opportunity to enter an online competition showcasing them and their business. The competition will occur from February 1-28, 2021, and a panel of independent judges will choose a winner.