Update: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture says it aims to launch its next suborbital space mission on Aug. 4, sending up a six-person crew that includes the first Egyptian and Portuguese space missions.
Liftoff will take place at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas, during a launch window that opens at 8:30 a.m. CT (6:30 a.m. PT) next Thursday. The countdown, launch and landing will be webcast via Blue Origin’s website from T-minus-30 minutes.
Technical or weather issues may force launch delays. watch Blue Origin’s Twitter account for updates.
Previously: Blue Origin still has some first-frontier news up its sleeve: The company says its next manned suborbital flight will launch the first spaceflights coming from Egypt and Portugal.
The crew for Blue Origin’s sixth crewed mission – known as NS-22 because it’s the 22nd flight overall, including unmanned aircraft – will also include a co-founder of the Dude Perfect sports/entertainment video venture, a British-American mountain climber, an unmanned automotive pioneer and a former telecom executive.
The July 22 announcement of the NS-22’s lineup came a year and two days after Blue Origin’s first-ever crewed flight, which sent Bezos and three others beyond the 100-kilometer Karman line. That height marks the internationally accepted limit of outer space.
The flight plan for NS-22 follows the model set by previous missions: The crew will lift off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas aboard a reusable New Shepard rocket ship, and experience a few minutes of weightlessness before descending to a parachute-assisted landing mid in the area around the launch site.
Blue Origin has not said how much customers pay to fly, but a report suggests that the price for one of the crew members is in the order of 1.25 million dollars.
Here’s a quick overview of the selection, in alphabetical order:
Coby Cotton is one of Dude Perfect’s five co-founders. His seat is sponsored by MoonDAO, a cryptocentric collective that aims to decentralize access to space research and exploration. The members voted for Cotton to represent them on this flight. MoonDAO reportedly transferred $2.575 million in cryptocurrency to pay for two New Shepard seats.
Mario Ferreira is a Portuguese entrepreneur, investor and president of Pluris Investments, a business group that includes more than 40 companies involved in tourism, media, real estate, insurance and renewable energy. Several Portuguese nationals are in the running to join the European Space Agency’s astronaut corps, but Blue Origin says Ferreira will be the first person from Portugal to cross into space.
Vanessa O’Brien is a British-American explorer and former bank manager. Blue Origin says the flight into space would make her the first woman to complete the “Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta,” which also includes an Everest ascent and a Challenger Deep dive. (Private-equity investor Victor Vescovo ended the Trifecta with a New Shepard spaceflight in June.)
Clint Kelly III started the Autonomous Land Vehicle Project in 1984 while working at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and is credited with starting the development of the technology base leading to today’s driverless cars.
Sara Sabry is an Egyptian mechanical and biomedical engineer, and the founder of the Deep Space Initiative, a non-profit group that aims to increase the accessibility of space exploration. She became Egypt’s first female analog astronaut in 2021 after completing a simulated lunar mission in Poland. Sabry is the second astronaut sponsored by Space for Humanity, a nonprofit group that paid for Mexican native Katya Echazarreta’s ride on New Shepard in June.
Steve Young is the former CEO of Young’s Communications LLC (Y-COM), which was the largest telecommunications provider in the state of Florida under his leadership. Y-COM was acquired by Grain Management last year. Young is also the owner of Pineapples, a restaurant in Melbourne on Florida’s Space Coast.
This is an updated version of a report that was first published at 19:00 on 22 July.