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A contest winner for SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission gave away his seat because he exceeded the maximum weight limit by 80 pounds

Kyle Hippchen was delighted when he won a raffle for a ticket on board SpaceX’s first tourist flight last year.

John Raoux/AP

  • Florida pilot Kyle Hippchen couldn’t go to space because he exceeded the maximum weight limit.
  • He gave his ticket for SpaceX’s Inspiration4 flight to former roommate Chris Sembroski, AP reported.
  • Billionaire Jacob Isaacman saluted Hippchen’s generosity. 

A Florida resident has spoken of his disappointment at being unable to fly on SpaceX’s all-civilian Inspiration4 mission last September because he exceeded the weight limit.

Kyle Hippchen was named as a winner but had to give his ticket away because he was 80 pounds over the maximum weight requirement, AP reported.

Hippchen gave his ticket to former college roommate Chris Sembroski, who said he was “forever grateful,” according to the outlet. Unlike Hippchen, who spent $600 worth of raffle entries, Sembroski paid $50. 

In March 2021, he asked to withdraw after reading the requirements. He was then informed he was one of the winners out of 72,000 entries.

“I was trying to figure how I could drop 80 pounds in six months, which, I mean, it’s impossible, but it’s not the most healthy thing in the world to do,” Hippchen said, as reported by AP. 

Hippchen, 43, is a Florida-based captain for Delta’s regional carrier Endeavor Air. He understood the weight limit was a safety issue that could not be exceeded but told AP that the pain of missing out “hurts too much.” He hasn’t even been able to watch the Netflix series about the flight, the report added. 

Billionaire Jacob Isaacman sponsored the trip and applauded the airline pilot’s willingness to gift his seat and said it “was an incredible act of generosity.”

Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen and Aylin Woodward reported that SpaceX launched the civilian crew into orbit on its Crew Dragon ship on September 16.

Aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, the four trained civilian astronauts encountered a malfunction with the spacecraft’s toilets but were able to fix it, as Insider’s Isobel Hamilton reported. 

According to AP, Hippchen attended the launch of the craft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida from a VIP balcony. He said probably fewer than 50 people knew he was the true winner.  

The fully automated spacecraft reached an unusually high altitude of 363 miles, Reuters reported. The crew dropped into the Atlantic Ocean on their return, after spending three days orbiting Earth and taking cognitive tests for scientific research.

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