Enough with the billionaire’s going to space, am I right? In a year with inaugural launches by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson in to suborbital space, why does another launch by another company even matter? It matters because this mission changes the ethos of private space flight. On Yom Kippur, Inspiration4 mission, made history as the first all civilian crew to go to space.
Jared Isaacman, father of 2, chartered the whole mission and gave away the other seats and dedicated the mission to raising money for St.Jude’s research hospital. This mission, distinct in its goals from other space flights will set a new ideals for spaceflight. A secular businessman and expert pilot, Isaacman is a secular jew. While it’s unclear how Isaacson sees himself as a Jewish leader or community member, the difference in impact of his spaceflight is something we can value. Isaacson’s trip should be an inspiration for Jewish leadership in the space age, even here on earth.
Unlike Bezos’ and Bransons’ flights, SpaceX’s Inspiration4 went higher and orbited longer. The crew were not Isaacson’s family or employees, instead thoughtfully curated winners of seats representing the ideological pillars of the mission. Inspriation4’s astronauts filled the seats of Hope, Prosperity, Generosity, and Leadership. Isaacson taking the seat of Leadership is rumored to have chartered the flight for $200 million (though undisclosed). The mission has raised more than $210 million (so far) for St.Jude’s.
This was a mission of hope and peace. Of particular note is the large window on this mission. While they did conduct experiments, this all civilian crew were tourists and accordingly had the largest window in space attached to their capsule from which to look down on the earth. “The Overview Effect,” is an experience described by Frank White in his book by the same title, in which Astronaut’s sense of meaning expands as a result of their witnessing the earth from orbit or beyond.
I wonder how this diverse crew will be impacted by their experience of the overview effect. I wonder how Jared Isaacson will lead following this experience. I wonder how this mission will change space flight. I hope that a new standard will be set, one set by Jared Isaacson’s leadership here. His leadership has defined a space that is inclusive. His leadership has shown that billionaires going to space can help real people suffering here on earth. I look forward to this space age and the Jews who will demonstrate ethical, artful, and inclusive leadership.