June 1, 2023

Blue Origin sets date for next crewed space trip, names 2 passengers

Blue Origin sets date for next crewed space trip, names 2 passengers
Blue Origin sets date for next crewed space trip, names 2 passengersBlue Origin sets date for next crewed space trip, names 2 passengers

Blue Origin will send its second batch of space tourists on a suborbital flight on Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The company has revealed two of the four crewmembers will be Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth observation company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, vice chair for life sciences and healthcare at French software company Dassault Systèmes. The remaining two crewmembers will be announced in the coming days, Blue Origin said in a statement

The NS-18 mission, the 18th flight overall for the New Shepard rocket, will lift off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas at 9:30 a.m. EDT (8:30 a.m. CDT or 1330 GMT) on Oct. 12. In addition to the four passengers, the flight will carry thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which aims to inspire future generations to pursue careers in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Blue Origin will livestream the flight with coverage scheduled to start an hour before lift-off. 

In photos: Blue Origin’s 1st New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos

“This is a fulfillment of my greatest childhood dream,” Boshuizen, who started his career as a cubesat engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, said in the statement. “More importantly, though, I see this flight as an opportunity to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM and catalyze the next generation of space explorers. After all, our future of life in space is in their very capable hands.” 

During the approximately 11-minute flight, the capsule with the crew on board will cross the so-called Karman Line, the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, at the altitude of about 60 miles (100 kilometers). The space tourists will enjoy about 3 minutes of weightlessness around the peak altitude. 

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“I’ve spent my entire career working to extend people’s lives,” De Vries said in the statement. “However, with limited materials and energy on Earth, extending our reach into space can help humanity continue to thrive. Furthermore, astronauts can experience the ‘overview effect,’ gaining a new perspective on how fragile and precious our planet, those resources and our civilization are.”

This mission follows Blue Origin’s successful first human flight on July 20, which included Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and Blue Origin’s first paying customer, Oliver Daemen. Blue Origin is selling tickets via its website, however, the company has not yet made public the price tag of its space trips.

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