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Space beer, anyone? Hops flying on SpaceX's private astronaut mission Inspiration4 will be auctioned for charity

The private Inspiration4 SpaceX astronauts will carry hops into space that could be used for "space beer."
The private Inspiration4 SpaceX astronauts will carry hops into space that could be used for "space beer." (Image credit: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Billionaire Jared Isaacman is looking for a brewery to make beer with space-flown hops — for a good cause. 

The tech entrepreneur and experienced pilot has chartered a SpaceX flight to send himself and three other passengers, all private citizens, into orbit for a three-day mission in a Crew Dragon spacecraft. Called Inspiration4, the mission is scheduled to lift off Sept. 15 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, riding to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. 

Hitching a ride to space with the Inspiration4 crew will be 70 pounds (32 kilograms) of hops, an ingredient that adds bitterness and aroma to beer. And when that hops returns to Earth, Isaacman plans to auction it off to a brewery and donate the funds to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, he announced on Twitter Aug. 12, adding that interested breweries should "inquire on inspiration4.com."

Related: Netflix will co-produce a documentary about SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission

The Inspiration4 crew poses in the crew access arm on Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they will lift off on Sept. 14. From left to right: Jared Isaacman, Sian Proctor, Hayley Arceneaux and Chris Sembroski. (Image credit: Inspiration4)

Isaacman has also donated two of the four seats on the Inspiration4 mission to St. Jude, which is located in Memphis, Tennessee. One went to Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at the hospital and childhood survivor of bone cancer. 

The second seat was given to Christopher Sembroski after he won the ticket to space in a fundraising raffle. That sweepstake brought in more than 72,000 donations totaling $13 million, in addition to the $100 million Isaacman pledged to donate. The fourth passenger will be Sian Proctor, the winner of an entrepreneur contest run by Isaacman's Shift4Shop e-commerce platform.

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Isaacman's Inspiration4 mission won't be the first to launch beer-making supplies into orbit. NASA has flown hops to the International Space Station to brew beer in space for a student experiment, and Budweiser recently launched barley seeds to the orbiting laboratory to study the barley malting process in microgravity. Space-flown yeast has also been used to successfully brew "space beer" on Earth.

"Still shocked we don't have a brewery that is interested in making [beer] w/ hops flown on orbit higher than the Hubble telescope ... and to raise funds for @StJude along the way," Isaacman tweeted Thursday (Aug. 19), one week after he announced the auction. "C'mon breweries make history and get in contact with us."

The Inspiration4 mission team has not yet announced any details about the auction, like when or where it will take place, and the Inspiration4 team did not respond to Space.com's request for comment. But breweries interested in throwing their hats in the ring can formally do so at inspiration4.com/contact.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time Hanneke likes to explore the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.