Blue Origin Launches 6 Tourists into Space After Nearly 2-Year Hiatus: Meet the New Astronauts

Six tourists were able to venture into the edge of space and officially earn the title of astronauts on Sunday morning. This remarkable achievement comes after a hiatus of almost two years, which was prompted by a previous unsuccessful uncrewed test flight conducted by the renowned space exploration company, Blue Origin.

The New Shepard flight, which was scheduled, took off at 9:36 a.m. local time from Launch Site One, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The launch site is located approximately 30 miles north of the town of Van Horn in Culberson County. These facilities are situated on a private ranch in West Texas.

“A successful crewed mission is now officially recorded as #NS25,” announced the NASA-awarded company shortly after the rocket took off.

According to The El Paso Times, part of the USA TODAY Network, the rocket, which transports cargo and humans on short trips to the edge of space, has been out of operation since a mission in Texas in the fall of 2022. The mission ended in failure just one minute after liftoff, resulting in the rocket’s capsule, which contained NASA experiments, being ejected mid-flight.

According to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), no injuries were reported when the rocket crashed back to earth. The FAA also announced that it will be opening an investigation into the incident.

Who was the crew on the Blue Origin launch?

According to a statement on its website, New Shepard has successfully sent a total of 37 individuals into space, including the crew from its latest mission.

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The NS-25 mission, which marked the company’s seventh flight thus far, assembled a team of skilled individuals. The crew consisted of Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Ken Hess, Carol Schaller, and Gopi Thotakura. Notably, they were joined by former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight, who holds the distinction of being the first Black astronaut candidate in the United States.

‘Forever changed’

The video titled “Forever changed,” shared by Blue Origin on X, captures a significant moment of the crew unbuckling and experiencing weightlessness during the mission.

As the camera captures the scene, it becomes evident that the crew members are enjoying the zero gravity environment in their own unique ways. Some of them engage in a lighthearted game of tossing a hockey puck back and forth, showcasing their playful side. Others express their excitement by exchanging enthusiastic high fives, creating a sense of camaraderie among the team. A few crew members can be seen spinning in circles, reveling in the weightlessness of their surroundings. This footage portrays the crew’s ability to adapt and find joy even in the most unconventional settings.

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New Shepard Senior Vice President Phil Joyce expressed his gratitude to the astronaut customers for giving them the chance to offer such a life-changing experience. He acknowledged them as pioneers who are actively contributing to the mission of Blue Origin, which is to create a pathway to space for the betterment of our planet.

In the past year, the FAA concluded its examination of the New Shepard investigation and mandated several changes for Blue Origin to implement before their next mission. These changes encompassed a range of improvements, including an engine redesign and reorganization within the company.

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