NBAA-BACE Kickoff to Honor Jared Isaacman, Trailblazer in Aerospace and Beyond

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-431-5970,

Washington, DC, Sept. 27, 2023 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will bestow its most distinguished honor, the 2023 Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, to renowned civilian astronaut, accomplished aviator, entrepreneur and philanthropist Jared Isaacman at this year’s NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) taking place Oct. 17-19 in Las Vegas, NV.

“Whether it’s starting his first business at 16, dazzling air show crowds, flying higher in orbit than even the Hubble Space Telescope or championing humanitarian causes, Jared Isaacman has committed his life to reaching the highest pinnacles of human achievement and exploration,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We are pleased to present Jared with our Meritorious Service to Aviation Award. His endless aspiration and commitment to inspiration and service truly exemplify the high standards of this prestigious honor.”

Isaacman, founder and CEO of payments company Shift4 (NYSE: FOUR), may be best known as the commander of Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit, has been a pioneer throughout his life. At the age of 16, Isaacman founded the global payment processing company that today facilitates billions of dollars in transactions conducted by tens of millions of companies. Isaacman also co-founded Draken International, a supplier of aircraft for national security purposes and provider of operational readiness training.

While in his 20s, he thrilled crowds with his air show flights in an Aero L-39 as part of the Black Diamond Jet Team, which he also co-founded. In 2009, he set a new round-the-world record in his Cessna Citation Mustang as a fundraising mission for the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. It was Isaacman’s second attempt to circumnavigate the globe, which came just five years after he first began flight training.

As part of NBAA’s tribute to Isaacman, he will be interviewed on the keynote stage by Dr. Sian Proctor about Inspiration4’s history-making journey into space. Proctor served as mission pilot for the flight in the Dragon capsule mounted atop a Falcon 9 launch rocket. Proctor herself wowed audiences as a keynote speaker for NBAA’s 2021 convention, in which she relayed the compelling story of her life’s journey from teaching geology, sustainability, and planetary science at a community college to the leadership of a ground-breaking, three-day space mission.   

In September 2021, Isaacman and his three-person crew – Proctor, Hayley Arceneaux and Christopher Sembroski – orbited the earth for three and half days, traveling 17,500 miles per hour, and raising more than $250 million on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.

Isaacman is set to return to space no earlier than the first quarter of 2024, on the Polaris Dawn mission. The crew will spend up to five days in orbit, flying higher than any Dragon mission to date and endeavoring to reach the highest Earth orbit ever flown. The crew of Polaris Dawn will conduct a spacewalk and support scientific research designed to advance both human health on Earth and our understanding of human health during future long-duration spaceflights. The mission is the first of three planned spaceflights that are part of the Polaris program.

First presented in 1950, NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award celebrates extraordinary lifelong professional contributions to aviation. Candidates for the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award must be individuals who have made significant identifiable contributions that have materially advanced aviation interests.

Recipients of the Meritorious Service Award are those who built the aviation industry and community, including business aviation, from the ground up and around one common denominator – the miracle of flight. Learn more about NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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