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Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin is set to launch its new Shepard rocket for the first time this year on Thursday, as the company sends more passengers on short trips into space.
Known as the NS-20, the New Shepard mission will have a crew of six – former party America CEO Marty Allen; Mark Hagel, CEO of real estate development firm Tricer International, and his wife Sharon; Jim Kitchen, a professor at the University of North Carolina; Former FAA commercial space office leader. George Neeld; And Gary Lai, chief architect of the New Shepard rocket at Blue Origin.
Comedian and actor Pete Davidson had previously been told to fly with the crew, but his seat was transferred to Like after Davidson was unable to join the mission for an undisclosed reason.
The company is currently targeting a liftoff at 9:10 am EST.
NS-20 crew, left to right: Gary Lai, George Neeld, Jim Kitchen, Marty Allen, Sharon Hagel and Mark Hagel.
The NS-20 mission will mark the 20th passenger of Blue Origin, which has been in space with the New Shepard since the rocket’s first crew mission last summer.
Last year, Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said that Blue Origin had sold tickets worth about $ 100 million to future passengers, although the company did not disclose the price of a seat at New Shepard.
The rocket will launch from a private facility at Blue Origin in West Texas, aiming to climb 100 kilometers – or more than 340,000 feet – before returning to Earth safely a few minutes later. From start to finish, the launch is expected to last about 11 minutes. The crew is ready to experience weight loss for about three minutes.
New Shepard’s capsules will accelerate more than three times the speed of sound to cross the 80-kilometer boundary or about 50 miles, which is used to mark the edge of U.S. space. The capsule is flown autonomously, without a human pilot, and floats with a set of parachutes for landing in the Texas Desert.
The New Shepard Rocket Booster is reusable, and will attempt to return and land on a concrete pad near the launch site.
Blue Origin also flies New Shepherd on cargo missions, such as the one held in August, which carries a payload of research into the capsule.
This image from Blue Origin, New Origin’s new Shepard rocket van horn, sits on a spaceport launch pad near Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Blue Origin | Reuters