Blue Origin crew includes first Egyptian and Portuguese astronauts

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Blue Origin unveils its latest crew list, but the launch date has yet to be announced. (Blue original photo)

Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin still has a few firsts up its sleeve: today the company announced that its next crewed suborbital flight will send the first space aviators from Egypt and Portugal.

But when will they fly? The launch date is still pending.

The lineup for Blue Origin’s sixth crewed mission — known as NS-22 because it’s the 22nd flight overall, including uncrewed flights — will also include a company co-founder sports/entertainment video Dude Perfect, a British-American mountaineer, driverless car pioneer and former telecommunications executive.

Today’s crew announcement comes a year and two days after Blue Origin’s first-ever crewed flight, which sent Bezos and three others past the 100-kilometre Karman line that marks the border internationally accepted from outer space.

The NS-22 flight plan follows the pattern established by past missions: the crew will blast off from Blue Origin Launch Site 1 in West Texas aboard a reusable New Shepard rocket and experience a few minutes of weightlessness before descending by parachute. helped land in the middle of the range lands surrounding the launch site.

Blue Origin did not say how much its customers pay to fly, but a report suggests the rate for one of the crew members is around $1.25 million.

Here is a brief overview of the range, in alphabetical order:

Coby Cotton is one of the five co-founders of Dude Perfect. Its headquarters are sponsored by MoonDAO, a crypto-centric collective that aims to decentralize access to space research and exploration. The members voted to have Cotton 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 chairman of Pluris Investments, a business group that includes more than 40 companies involved in tourism, media, real estate, insurance and renewable energy. Several Portuguese citizens are vying to join the European Space Agency’s astronaut corps, but Blue Origin claims that Ferreira would be the first person from Portugal to cross the space frontier.

Vanessa O’Brien is an Anglo-American explorer and former banking executive. Blue Origin claims her flight into space would make her the first woman to complete the “Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta”, which also includes an ascent of Everest and a dive in the Challenger Deep. (Private equity investor Victor Vescovo completed the Trifecta with a New Shepard spaceflight in June.)

Clint Kelly 3 started the autonomous ground vehicle project in 1984 while working at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and is credited with starting the development of the technological foundation leading to today’s driverless cars today.

Sara Sabri is an Egyptian mechanical and biomedical engineer and the founder of the Deep Space Initiative, a nonprofit group that aims to increase accessibility for space research. She became Egypt’s first female analog astronaut in 2021 after completing a simulated lunar mission in Poland. Sabry is the second citizen space traveler to be sponsored by Space for Humanity, a nonprofit group that funded Mexican Katya Echazarreta’s trip to New Shepard in June.

Steve Young is the former CEO of Young’s Communications LLC (Y-COM), which was the state of Florida’s largest telecommunications contractor under his leadership. Y-COM was acquired by Grain Management last year. Young also owns Pineapples, a restaurant in Melbourne on Florida’s Space Coast.

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