SpaceX: the winner of the first tourist flight gave up his place… because of his weight

In September 2021, the first space tourist flight was organized by SpaceX. To determine one of the passengers, a draw was organized between 72,000 participants. Except the man boarded the day of takeoff wasn’t the original winner. This Sunday, January 30, Kyle Hippchen explained in the columns of the New York Post the reason why he could not take advantage of this unique experience. Indeed, the 43-year-old American exceeded the maximum weight limit authorized to take off.

“I’m incredibly disappointed, but that’s the way it is,” Kyle Hippchen said. Former airline pilot, the American had spent more than 500 euros to increase his chances of winning the draw. But the 43-year-old realized too late that he was over the legal weight. Weighing 149 kilos for a limit of 113 kilos, the latter understood that the trip would be impossible. In the meantime, the organization of the draw contacted him to announce that he was the big winner, before asking him for information about his physique.

A gift offered to his former roommate

To console himself, Kyle Hippchen decided to give his place to a loved one: his former roommate in the 1990s when he was studying at Embry-Riddle, the famous university specializing in aeronautics. Although weight loss could have been considered for the American, a drastic diet could have been dangerous for his health: “I tried to see how I could lose 36 kg in six months… Which is possible , but that’s not the healthiest thing in the world,” he told the New York Post.

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Thanks to Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who sponsored the theft, the winner of the draw had the opportunity to designate his replacement himself. And so it was Chris Sembrowski, his long-time friend, who was able to fly into space for the first tourist flight in history. “Kyle’s willingness to offer his seat to Chris was an incredible act of generosity,” Jared Isaacman said in a letter sent to the American newspaper. Fortunately, Kyle Hippchen had the right to attend behind the scenes of the preparation alongside the families of the crew.

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