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He won a trip to space. Then he gave it away to a friend

Inspiration4's Crew Dragon capsule stands ready for launch at Kennedy Space Center. Photo: Derek Demeter / WMFE

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The real winner of a sweepstakes for a ride in space has finally come forward: a Florida-based airline pilot. Kyle Hippchen held the winning ticket in the random drawing last year.

But he exceeded SpaceX’s 250-pound weight limit for the Dragon capsule. So he picked his college roommate to take his place for the three-day trip to space. That friend was one of four people who rocketed into orbit last September from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The 43-year-old Hippchen watched the launch from a VIP balcony. Until now, few people knew he was the real winner.

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