Blue Origin’s sixth manned spaceflight is in the books.
The company New Shepherd the suborbital vehicle transported six people to the last frontier this morning (4 August), including some who reached spaceflight first.
New Shepard took off from of blue origin West Texas site at 9:57 am EDT (1357 GMT) and returned to Earth about 10 minutes later. Although the mission was short, the crew members left with memories that will last a lifetime.
“Woo-hoo! We’re not going to die. Our poor families,” joked one of the passengers as the New Shepard vehicle dropped safely under its parachute in the Texas desert.
In the pictures: Blue Origin’s first New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos
The six people on board were Coby Cotton, one of the founders of the popular YouTube channel Dude Perfect; Mário Ferreira and Sara Sabry, who became the first people from Portugal and Egypt respectively to reach space; technology pioneer Clint Kelly III; telecommunications executive (not former NFL quarterback) Steve Young; and Vanessa O’Brien.
NS-22 made O’Brien the first woman ever to complete the “explorers’ extreme trifecta,” according to one Description of the Blue Origin mission (opens in a new tab). She has now reached space, climbed the highest mountain in the world (Mt. Everest) and descended to the deepest point in the ocean (the Challenger Deep of the Pacific).
Cotton and Sabry didn’t have to pay for the ride today; their posts were sponsored by the non-profit organizations MoonDAO and Space for Humanity, respectively.
MoonDAO wants to decentralize access to space, with the long-term goal of creating “a self-sufficient and autonomous colony on the moon that serves as a starting point for humanity to explore the cosmos,” according to to the organization’s website (opens in a new tab). Cotton won a MoonDAO contest to board the NS-22.
Space for humanity (opens in a new tab) is working to increase our species’ access to space. Part of the organization’s strategy involves sponsoring “citizen astronauts,” a group of exceptional people who will do their best to share with those of us who have never left Earth the life-changing shift in perspective imparted by space flight. . Sabry is the second city astronaut to fly with Blue Origin, after Katya Echazarreta, a crew member who launched on NS-21 in June.
Ferreira, Kelly, Young and O’Brien have apparently paid their way to the space today. But it is not clear how much they had to shell out; Blue Origin did not disclose New Shepard ticket prices. For comparison, that of Richard Branson Galactic Virgo, Blue Origin’s main competitor in suborbital space tourism, currently charges $ 450,000 for a seat on its VSS Unity space plane. (VSS Unity has flown into space four times but isn’t fully operational yet.)
You can read more about all six of today’s space flyers in ours History of the crew members of the NS-22.
NS-22 was the sixth human spaceflight for Blue Origin. The first, in July 2021, sent the founder of the company Jeff Bezos in space with his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and student Oliver Daemen. New Shepard made two more manned flights in 2021 and has now flown three in 2022.
New Shepard is a reusable and fully automated rocket capsule combination. The rocket returns to Earth for a vertical landing near the launch site and the capsule falls under the parachute shortly thereafter. Passengers aboard the vehicle can see the curve of the Earth against the darkness of space and experience a few minutes of it absence of gravity.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there (opens in a new tab)“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) or turned on Facebook (opens in a new tab).