Blue Origin targets Aug 4 to launch six tourists to space


After successfully completing two spaceflights, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is targeting August 4 to launch its third tourism flight of the year. The New Shepard spacecraft will carry a full manifest of six paying customers to what has been described as brief joyrides to space.

The sixth human spaceflight for the company will lift off from Launch Site One on Thursday at 8:30 AM CDT (6:50 pm IST), carrying the crew to space on the flight that will last just over 10 minutes, giving them an opportunity to experience weightlessness in zero gravity, beyond Earth.

This will be the third flight this year, and the 22nd in its nearly two-decade-long development. The flight will not only carry the first Egyptian, but also the first person from Portugal and British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, who Blue Origin says will become the first woman to reach extremes on land, sea, and air. Vanessa will complete the Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record.

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The mission will see Dude Perfect cofounder Coby Cotton, Portuguese entrepreneur Mário Ferreira, British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, technology leader Clint Kelly III, Egyptian engineer Sara Sabry, and telecommunications executive Steve Young go to space.

The company has released the patch that will be worn by the crew. (Photo: Blue Origin)

The New Shepard spacecraft will reach an altitude of 3,50,000 feet nearly 100 kilometers above the surface of Earth, called the Karman Line, the border between Earth and space. While the cost of the seats is not released, experts speculate it is in the range of millions of dollars.

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The company has released the patch that will be worn by the crew and shows the Pyramids of Egypt representing Sara Sabry’s heritage, Mariana Trench represents Vanessa O’Brien’s feat in reaching Challenger Deep, the crew capsule is depicted as a basketball, while the Magellan’s ship represents Mário Ferreira’s Portuguese heritage. Meanwhile, the fish swimming below Magellan’s ship symbolizes Steve Young’s passion for fishing and the stagecoach represents Clint Kelly III’s aspirations for humanity’s reach into the new frontier of space.

Blue Origin began its space tourism services in 2021 when it first launched its founder Jeff Bezos on the inaugural flight. The aerospace giant is in direct competition with SpaceX, which has a massive tourism flight Polaris Dawn scheduled in the future as the two vie for government contracts including missions to the Moon.

Also Read | Bezos’ Blue Origin to take six passengers on brief joyride

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