Blue Origin sets a record with its 3rd space tourism flight

With its third space tourism flight of the year, Blue Origin set a new record by transporting the first astronauts of Egyptian and Portuguese origin into space.

On Thursday, August 4, Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft successfully carried six additional passengers into orbit from Launch Site One in Texas. The crew was carried by the spacecraft to a height of 100 kilometers.

Together with Mário Ferreira, the first Portuguese astronaut, Sara Sabry became the first Egyptian to travel in space. Coby Cotton, co-founder of Dude Perfect, British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, technology pioneer Clint Kelly III. And telecommunications manager Steve Young was also on the flight.

The in-flight astronauts disembarked after passing the 100 km line and spent a short time in weightlessness. After this brief period, the capsule is parachuted and lands in the desert. The NS-22 mission marks the booster’s ninth successful launch, according to the company. Remarkably, this marked New Shepard’s 22nd launch. And this is the sixth crewed spacecraft for Blue Origin in total.

O’Brien turned out to be the first woman to reach the highest and lowest places on Earth (Mt. Everest and Challenger Deep), as well as space. With this feat, she set for herself the Guinness Extreme Trifecta Explorers World Record. Other notable crew members were Young, the former CEO of Young’s Communications LLC (Y-COM). Kelly is a research scientist in the fields of robotics and computer science. Additionally, he is currently a member of the Space Coast Coastal Conservation Association (CCA).

Crew member expenses for the mission on Blue Origin

This NS-22 mission is also the third launch for the organization led by Jeff Bezos in 2022. There were six astronauts on the previous flight, NS-21, five men and one woman. As the only female crew member and first person born in Mexico to reach space, Katya Echazarreta made history on the previous mission.
This automated and reusable capsule rocket system called New Shepard is intended for passenger transport and research payloads. It’s mostly fast travel in suborbital space. The human capsule falls gently using a parachute while the rocket returns to Earth by a powered landing. The operating procedure is similar to the initial stages of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital rockets.

Currently, the duration of the new Shepard mission is only about 11 minutes. It forecasts the arc of visible Earth against the darkness of space. And traveling crew members can enjoy weightlessness for a short time. Nevertheless, the expenses of the mission were kept secret since Blue Origin never wanted to talk about it. But as The New York Times reports, the cost of previous missions has ranged from nothing to $28 million (about Rs220 crore) for a few moments of weightlessness.

For another comparison, Virgin Galactic charges $450,000 for seats in its VSS Unity spacecraft. Virgin Galactic is the company’s main rival in the tourism and suborbital space travel industry. Although the piloted VSS Unity has made four trips to suborbital space so far, it is not yet fully functional.
However, the flight was free for Cotton and Sabry thanks to support from the MoonDAO and Space for Humanity charities, separately. Cotton prevailed in a MoonDAO competition to board the NS-22.

MoonDAO seeks to decentralize space travel with the long-term goal of building a self-sustaining, self-sustaining colony on the moon. According to the organization’s website page, it aims for the moon to function as a launching pad for humanity to further explore the universe.

On the other hand, the objective of Space for Humanity is to improve humanity’s accessibility to space. It’s s Sponsoring “citizen astronauts,” who are a group of extraordinary individuals. Then individuals will do their best to share their experiences with those of us who have never left Earth. It would be the life-changing mindset that spaceflight can bring, and it’s a key part of the organization’s plan.

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