Blue Origin wins the 6th space tourism mission
Blue Origin’s sixth crewed spaceflight is in the books.
From the company New Shepard The suborbital vehicle carried six people to the final frontier this morning (August 4), including a few who won early spaceflights.
New Shepard took off from blue origin west Texas site at 9:57 a.m. EDT (1357 GMT) and was back on Earth about 10 minutes later. Although the mission was brief, its 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 descended safely under its parachutes in the Texas desert.
In images, in 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 Dude Perfect YouTube channel; Mário Ferreira and Sara Sabry, who respectively became the first Portuguese and Egyptians to reach space; technology pioneer Clint Kelly III; director of telecommunications (not former NFL quarterback) Steve Young; and Vanessa O’Brien.
NS-22 made O’Brien the first woman to complete the “Extreme Explorers Trifecta”, according to a Description of the Blue Origin mission (opens in a new tab). She has now reached space, scaled the tallest mountain in the world (Mount Everest) and descended to the deepest point in the ocean (Pacific’s Challenger Deep).
Cotton and Sabry didn’t have to pay for their ride today; their seats were sponsored by nonprofit organizations MoonDAO and Space for Humanity, respectively.
MoonDAO wants to decentralize access to space, with the long-term goal of creating “a self-sustaining, self-sustaining colony on the moon to serve as a launching point for humanity to explore the cosmos,” according to on 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) works to increase our species’ access to space. Part of the organization’s strategy is to sponsor “citizen astronauts”, a group of exceptional people who will do their best to share with those of us who have never left Earth the shift in perspective that is changing the life that spaceflight bestows. Sabry is the second citizen astronaut to fly with Blue Origin, following Katya Echazarreta, a crew member who launched on NS-21 in June.
Ferreira, Kelly, Young and O’Brien apparently paid for their own space trip today. But we don’t know how much they had to shell out; Blue Origin did not reveal ticket prices for New Shepard. For comparison, that of Richard Branson Galactic Virgo, Blue Origin’s main competitor in the suborbital space tourism industry, is currently charging $450,000 for a seat on its VSS Unity spaceplane. (VSS Unity has flown four times in space but is not yet fully operational.)
You can read more about today’s six spaceflyers in our History of NS-22 crew members.
NS-22 was the sixth manned spaceflight for Blue Origin. The first, in July 2021, sent the company’s founder Jeff Bezos in space with his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and student Oliver Daemen. New Shepard completed two more crewed flights in 2021 and has now completed three in 2022.
New Shepard is a reusable, fully automated rocket-capsule combo. The rocket returns to Earth for a vertical powered landing near the launch site, and the capsule descends under parachutes shortly thereafter. Passengers aboard the vehicle can see the curve of the Earth against the blackness of space and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
Mike Wall is the author of “The low (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).