It’s launch day for Blue Origin’s NS-20 space tourists
Blue Origin is counting down to launch its next space tourist mission, NS-20, from its Launch Site One in West Texas today. The mission will launch at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT) and you’ll be able to watch it live on Space.com beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).
Today’s mission will mark Blue Origin’s first crewed flight of 2022 and the company’s fourth crewed flight overall since it began launching passengers to space in July 2021. That first Blue Origin carried the company’s founder Jeff Bezos, among others. Bezos will likely be on hand for today’s launch as he has driven past crews to the launch pad himself.
This mission will carry six passengers. They include:
- Gary Lai, the chief architect of the New Shepard system, a reusable rocket-capsule combo. He joined Blue Origin in 2004 and was one of its first 20 employees;
- Sharon Hagle, the founder of SpaceKids Global, a nonprofit that was established in 2015 to encourage students, especially girls, to push forward their STEAM (science, technology, education, art and math) education and pursue careers in space. SpaceKids is also a participant in “Postcards to Space,” a program run by Blue Origin’s nonprofit organization Club for the Future.
- Marc Hagle, husband of Sharon, is president and CEO of the property development corporation Tricor International.
- Marty Allen, a past CEO and a current angel investor and mentor. He was the former CEO of the California Closet Company, which provides custom home storage ideas, along with Party America, which is now a nationwide retailer.
- Jim Kitchen, a faculty member of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, and an entrepreneur.
- George Nield, president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC, which seeks to broaden commercial space activities, and the former associate administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation.
Gary Lai and George Nield are flying on this mission as guests of Blue Origin, while the other crewmembers are paying passengers. Blue Origin has not disclosed what each of the paying passengers have paid for a flight on New Shepard, or what a single seat costs.
The NS-20 crew has spent the last two days training for today’s flight. Here are some photos from the training.