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Gig Harbor entrepreneur aims for the stars in SpaceX flight contest

Austin Hirsh, 23, who created a freeze-dried smoothie startup, hopes to get a seat on SpaceX's first all-civilian space mission, Inspiration4.

GIG HARBOR, Wash. — A local entrepreneur out of the University of Washington is hoping to earn a seat on a historic flight scheduled for the fall.

SpaceX announced Inspiration4, the first-ever all-civilian space mission and is reserving a few seats for the winners of two competitions. One seat will go to someone who donates to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the other seat will go to an inspiring entrepreneur “who embodies prosperity.”

Austin Hirsh, 23, of Gig Harbor, jumped on the opportunity to blend his business with that mission.

Hirsh founded The 2050 Company, which makes instant smoothies from upcycled produce. The "imperfect" produce, which might otherwise go to waste, goes through a freeze-dried process and maintains all nutrients while increasing shelf life from days to years.

Freeze-dried foods are already a staple in space exploration and Hirsh believes his product and purpose match the mission.

“SpaceX has made it obvious that space travel is no longer just for astronauts so why should space food be just for astronauts,” he said. 

There are certainly other connections between the startups. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has stated he aims to send 1 million people to Mars by 2050. Hirsh created The 2050 Company to reduce food waste and ensure better longevity for the food we grow. 

The contests are a part of a bigger goal to raise $200 million dollars for St. Jude's and Hirsh says he’s donating 10% of all sales of the 2050 Smoothie in February to that cause.

A panel of celebrity judges will review the top videos later this month and currently, Hirsch is trending as the number one contestant submission. If you’re interested in supporting a local entrepreneur reaching for the stars you can like and retweet his video submission on Twitter at @the2050co.