Billionaire chartered a trip to space this year and is donating two other seats to a hospital

Shift4 Payments founder Jared Isaacman, 37, has chartered a trip to orbit this year on a SpaceX rocket. An experienced pilot, Isaacman will operate the spacecraft himself as commander. There are three other seats in the capsule and Isaacman is donating two of them to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one for a frontline health worker and another to be raffled to hopefully raise more than $200 million for the hospital. The fourth seat will be the grand prize in a Shift4 Payments contest. From the New York Times:

Mr. Isaacman declined to disclose how much he is paying for his private mission to space, but said, "It's very safe to say that what we aim to raise in support of that cause is going to be far in excess of the cost of the mission."

He said he had committed to personally donating $100 million. "If you're going to accomplish all those great things out in space, all that progress, then you have an obligation to do some considerable good here on Earth, like making sure you conquer childhood cancer along the way," he said[…]

This will not be the first time Mr. Isaacman has gone far and fast. He flies fighter jets for fun, and in 2012, he founded Draken International, which owns fighter jets and provides training for pilots in the United States military. He periodically told people at SpaceX that he was interested in going to space someday.

"I've been a SpaceX fanboy for a long time," Mr. Isaacman said. "I've been a space enthusiast since I was in kindergarten."

image: SpaceX (CC BY-NC 2.0)