How Did Jared Isaacman Make His Money? Billionaire Buys Three New SpaceX Missions

A billionaire who was part of the first all-civilian crew to journey to space as part of the SpaceX Inspiration 4 mission, has bought three additional flights with Elon Musk's company.

Jared Isaacman will journey to space again in a series of missions as part of the Polaris mission, announced on the Polaris Twitter account. The 39-year-old self-made billionaire revealed his involvement on his own Twitter profile.

Just as the Inspiration 4 mission did, Isaacman says the Polaris mission will benefit St. Judes Children's Hospital and other good causes. He also thanked the Polaris team and his crewmates.

The Polaris website says the missions will culminate with the first human-crewed flight of SpaceX's Starship craft.

The first mission, Polaris Dawn, will see Isaacman travel to space with a crew including SpaceX employees, Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon, and former Air Force pilot Scott Poteet, aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

Spending five days in space, the crew will attempt to fly higher than any Dragon mission thus far and will thus potentially reach the highest Earth orbit ever flown.

During their time in space, Isaacman and his team will conduct a spacewalk, advance scientific research into our understanding of human health in space, especially during long spaceflights.

The Polaris Dawn crew will also be the first team to test the laser-based communications system, Starlink, in space. The mission is expected to launch during the final three months of 2022.

The question is how did Isaacman, who not only paid for his seat on the Inspiration 4 mission but also donated $100 million to St. Judes Children's Hospital to kick start an associated fundraising drive, become wealthy enough to pay for four trips to space?

How Wealthy Is Jared Isaacman?

According to Forbes Jared Isaacman is currently worth $1.7 billion. He serves as the CEO of the payment processing firm Shift4 Payments, which he founded in 1999 when he was just 16 years of age and after dropping out of high school.

The Pennslyvania-based company, which Isaacman originally operated from his parent's basement, now processes payments for around 200,000 businesses which includes a third of restaurants and hotels in the United States. Isaacman took the company public in June 2020, a move that made him a billionaire.

He currently owns 38 percent of its stock.

In addition to Shift4 Payments, Isaacman also founded Draken International in 2011. Forbes says the defense firm trains Air Force pilots and possesses the largest fleet of military aircraft in the world.

Isaacman sold the majority stake in Draken to Wall Street firm Blackstone in 2019 for an estimated nine-figure sum.

Isaacman's interest in taking to the skies isn't just limited to space missions. The billionaire also owns a MiG jet and at least nine other planes which he pilots himself according to a profile written by Forbes in 2020.

Last year, ahead of the Inspiration 4 mission, Isaacman spoke to Newsweek about the importance of these early commercial space projects. He said: "I know what's at stake. If it goes wrong, everyone's gonna say this was such a bad idea, and that this should stay with NASA and Russian cosmonauts.

"I want to get it right. I want to know things are going well so that we can ensure that door stays open for everyone else. So that's what I care most about the mission."

Isaacman
An image of Jared Isaacman taken in front of the recovered first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) on February 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. Isaacman will lead a further three space missions as part of the Polaris program. Patrick T. Fallon/GETTY