Starbase life is not a normal one. Between the construction of a private spaceport never before seen at this scale and the testing of SpaceX‘s Starship rocket, life can get weird down there. To add to that, Jared Issacman paid a visit with two of his old fighter jets over the weekend.
Issacman, the commander of the Inspiration4 mission, took two of his jets used for his company Draken International down to Starbase for a fly-by. The jets flew around Starbase, checking out the area, and made some close passes of the launch pad. And by close, we mean really close.
This isn’t the first time Issacman has given Starbase a mini airshow. Before Inspiration4’s launch, the crew hopped in their jets and flew in formation around the area. That time, however, they never got this close. The Draken pilots almost flew directly through the retired SN15 and SN16 Starships in one of the passes. Draken’s pilots of course are professionals, these sorts of low passes required permission from SpaceX and the FAA due to the implemented flight restrictions.
If you don’t know who Jared Issacman is, he’s a self-made billionaire through his payment processing company Shift4. Along the way, he’s flown jets in airshows, climbed mountains, and commanded the first-ever all civilian crew to space.
Why the flyover?
Of course, Issacman is a huge fan of space exploration, and it’s very easy to get excited about Starbase, especially with Elon Musk’s update coming later this week. However, Issacman is a businessman, and most likely is involved with SpaceX in a larger capacity than just Inspiration4.
If you watched TIME’s documentary on the mission, you’d know that the idea of the mission started in a meeting between Issacman and SpaceX that had nothing to do with commercial spaceflight. That business hasn’t been announced yet, but he could be an investor in SpaceX or consulting somehow.
It would be interesting to see if he sticks around this week for the update coming as soon as Thursday night.
Featured Image: Jared Issacman