To update: Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin says it aims to launch its next suborbital space mission on August 4, sending a crew of six that will include the first Egyptian and Portuguese spacecraft.
The launch is scheduled to take place at Blue Origin’s launch site one in West Texas during a launch window opening at 8:30 am CT (6:30 am PT) next Thursday. The countdown, takeoff and landing will be webcast from T-minus-30 minutes via Blue Origin’s website.
Technical issues or weather issues could force launch delays. Keep the overview Blue Origin Twitter account for updates.
So far: Blue Origin still has some new releases up its sleeve at the final frontiers: the company says its next crewed suborbital flight will send up the first spacecraft from Egypt and Portugal.
Blue Origin’s sixth manned mission – known as NS-22 because it is its 22nd flight overall, including unmanned flights – will also be crewed by a co-founder of sports/entertainment video company Dude Perfect, a British-American mountaineer Pioneer of the driverless car and a former telecom executive.
The July 22 announcement of NS-22’s deployment came a year and two days after Blue Origin’s first-ever manned flight, which sent Bezos and three others across the 100-kilometer Karman Line. This altitude marks the internationally accepted limit of space.
The flight plan for NS-22 follows the model of past missions: the crew will lift off from Blue Origin’s launch pad one in West Texas aboard a reusable New Shepard rocket ship and experience several minutes of zero gravity before descending to a parachute. Assisted landing in the grassland surrounding the launch site.
Blue Origin hasn’t said how much its customers are paying for the flight, but a report suggests the fare for one of the crew members is high in the $1.25 million range.
Here is a brief overview of the lineup in alphabetical order:
Coby cotton is one of the five co-founders of Dude Perfect. Its seat is sponsored by MoonDAO, a cryptocentric collective aiming 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 group of companies that includes more than 40 companies active in tourism, media, real estate, insurance and renewable energy sectors. Several Portuguese nationals are in the running to join the European Space Agency’s astronaut corps, but according to Blue Origin, Ferreira would become the first person from Portugal to cross the space frontier.
Vanessa O’Brien is a British-American explorer and former bank executive. Blue Origin says her flight into space would make her the first woman to complete the “Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta,” which also includes a climb of Everest and a dive to Challenger Deep. (Private equity investor Victor Vescovo ended the Trifecta in June with a New Shepard space flight.)
Clint Kelly III started the Autonomous Land Vehicle Project in 1984 while working at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is credited with beginning the development of the technology base leading to today’s driverless cars.
Sara Sabry is an Egyptian mechanical and biomedical engineer and founder of the Deep Space Initiative, a non-profit group aiming to improve accessibility for space exploration. She became Egypt’s first analogue astronaut in 2021 after completing a simulated lunar mission in Poland. Sabry is the second citizen spacecraft sponsored by Space for Humanity, a nonprofit group that paid for Mexican Katya Echazarreta’s trip on New Shepard in June.
Steve Young is the former CEO of Young’s Communications LLC (Y-COM), which under his leadership was the largest telecommunications company in the state of Florida. 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 first published at 7:00 p.m. on July 22.