Meet Kyle Hippchen, the real winner of one of the most coveted raffle lotteries. Thinking about what he won? He won a chance to go see Earth’s orbit in the first flight offered for tourists by SpaceX.
Kyle Hippchen failed to meet the weight restrictions given by SpaceX, which was at 250 pounds (113 kgs). This broke his heart, but he wanted to give his seat to someone, who would cherish it as much as he does.
The man gave away his seat to his college roommate, Chris Sembroski. Chris is a data engineer in Everett, Washington. He and Kyle have been roommates since the 1990s, attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. With a keen interest in space, often go for hour-long drives with students and other enthusiasts to see NASA’s space launches!
How did he win the ticket?
The news came in from the Founder and CEO of SHift4 Payments, Jeremy Issacman raffled off a seat on the flight he purchased from SpaceX’s Elon Musk. The beneficiary was St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Kyle Hippchen snapped his chance and took the $600 worth of entry, Chris was about to start a new job and paid $50. This event took place in February, and more than 72,000 entries were registered. The winner was decided by a random drawing, the same month.
Early March, Kyle Hippchen started receiving numerous emails asking for his details, and that’s when he read the restrictions. The winner has to be under 6-foot-6, and 250 pounds (113 kgs). Kyle was 5-foot-6, and 330 pounds (150 kgs).
What happened to Kyle Hippchen afterward?
Kyle understands the security issues that may arise due to restriction, as seats, suits have to be custom made, fuel is also taken per passenger, and more. Thus, he informed the organizers, and wanted to withdraw his name, only to learn he’d won!
He was trying to figure out how to lose 60 pounds in 6 months, which was achievable but at a great cost to his health. Issacman’s sponsor allowed him to pick a stand-in, and he chose Chris.
Kyle joined them to watch the astronauts launch to International Station for NASA. Chris offered to take Kyle’s personal belongings up in the space for him, forever grateful to give him this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Although Kyle didn’t get to see Earth from orbit, he did experience zero gravity for 10 minutes in a special zero-gravity plane.