Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has called off plans to put “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson on the next flight of its New Shepard suborbital spaceship. “Pete Davidson is no longer able to join the NS-20 crew on this mission,” Blue Origin said today in a tweet. The company said that liftoff from Launch Site One in West Texas has been delayed from March 24 to March 29.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has confirmed that “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson will be going to space next week, less than a year after he portrayed a hapless Mars astronaut on NBC’s late-night sketch show.
Bezos won’t be accompanying Davidson, even though that was the impression given by some of last week’s gossip about the flight. Instead, five paying passengers will be riding alongside the 28-year-old actor, who co-wrote and starred in a semi-autobiographical movie titled “The King of Staten Island” in 2020.
The other five spacefliers listed in today’s announcement are:
- Marty Allen, an angel investor and the former CEO of Party America and California Closet Company, among other ventures.
- Marc Hagle, the president and CEO of Tricor International, a residential and commercial property development corporation.
- Sharon Hagle, the founder of SpaceKids Global, a nonprofit organization focusing on STEAM+ education, with a special emphasis on empowering girls. SpaceKids participates in the Postcards to Space program led by the Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s educational foundation. Marc and Sharon Hagle are husband and wife.
- Jim Kitchen, a teacher, entrepreneur and explorer who has served on the faculty of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School since 2010.
- George Nield, a former associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation who is now the president of Commercial Space Technologies.
Blue Origin said Davidson would be getting a free flight as the company’s guest. The company declined to say how much the other fliers would be paying for their trips.
Comedian Pete Davidson co-starred with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk last year in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch about a slacker astronaut named Chad, but it sounds as if Davidson could soon go into space for real — courtesy of Musk’s rival space billionaire, Jeff Bezos.
According to the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column, Davidson is close to signing up for a suborbital space trip on the New Shepard rocket ship built by Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture.
“Pete is excited,” according to an unnamed Page Six source said to be familiar with Davidson’s plans. “They haven’t signed a contract yet, but it looks like it’s going to happen. The details are being finalized.”
Blue Origin, which is based in Kent, Wash., launched three crewed suborbital space missions from its West Texas spaceport last year and is reportedly keen to pick up the pace this year. Page Six quoted its source as saying the timing for Davidson’s flight is still up in the air.
The winner of June’s $28 million auction for a seat on Blue Origin’s suborbital spaceship revealed himself today — and is buying tickets for five more people to fly with him a year from now.
It would be hard to come up with a quirkier résumé than the one put together by Justin Sun, the 31-year-old crypto pioneer who put in the winning bid.
He’s a Chinese-born entrepreneur who founded the Tron cryptocurrency platform and serves as the CEO of Rainberry Inc., the file-sharing company formerly known as BitTorrent Inc.
Sun, a protégé of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, recently became a citizen of the Caribbean island nation of Grenada. Last week he was named Grenada’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
Although his net worth is currently estimated at a mere $200 million, he’s no stranger to high-stakes bidding. In 2019, he bid $4.6 million just to have lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett.
Sun said he was drawn to Blue Origin’s vision of sharing the spaceflight experience with the wider public.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture guided another suborbital space trip into the record books today — a trip that also marked a giant leap toward making space tourism routine.
When Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket ship lifted off from Launch Site One near Van Horn, Texas, every one of the crew capsule’s six seats was filled for the first time ever. During the reusable craft’s previous two crewed missions, in July and October, only four spacefliers were on board.
The sextet included Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of the late NASA astronaut Alan Shepard. His suborbital mission made him the first American in space in 1961, and inspired the name of the spaceship flying today.
“We did it, yay!” Churchley could be heard exclaiming just before touchdown.
Afterward, Churchley said her spaceflight was probably unlike what her father experienced. “I thought about Daddy when I was coming down,” she told Bezos. “I thought, gosh, he didn’t enjoy any of what I’m getting to enjoy. He was working!”
Blue Origin’s other special guest for the flight was Michael Strahan, who became the first American TV anchor (and football commentator) by virtue of his status at ABC’s “Good Morning America” (and Fox Sports). “I think it is safe to say that the word ‘touchdown’ has a new meaning for Michael Strahan today,” launch commentator Jacki Cortese said as the mission ended.
Back on the ground, Strahan said he was struck by the transition from the blue skies of Earth to the black sky of space. “It’s unreal,” he told Bezos. Strahan also mentioned the effect of high-G acceleration: “It’s not a facelift, it’s a face drop.”
Among the spacefliers paying an undisclosed fare were Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and Cameron Bess, the first parent-and-child duo to go into space together. There’s a Seattle-area tech connection for Cameron, who uses he/she/they pronouns: They are a Twitch streamer (and a furry) who live in Redmond, Wash.
Rounding out the crew were Dylan Taylor, who is the chairman and CEO of Voyager Space and the founder of a nonprofit group called Space for Humanity; and Evan Dick, an engineer, investor and managing member of Dick Holdings LLC.
Jeff Bezos’ privately held Blue Origin space venture is starting to look more like the other company he founded: Amazon.
During the run-up to Dec. 11’s scheduled launch of the venture’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship, you could order a limited-edition Blue Origin sweatshirt created for spaceflier Michael Strahan’s brand, watch Strahan and Bezos mix it up on Thursday Night Football — and look forward to “Shatner in Space,” an Amazon Prime documentary about Star Trek captain William Shatner’s flight in October.
For now, the revenue from merchandising and media projects is certain to pale in comparison with the fares that Blue Origin’s suborbital spaceflight customers are paying, and with the multimillion-dollar awards that Blue Origin is getting from NASA for other space projects.
Nevertheless, the crossovers illustrate how one of Bezos’ big businesses could leverage marketing expertise from the other.
Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard’s daughter will have to wait a little longer to take a ride on the suborbital spaceship that’s named after her father.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has delayed its next New Shepard mission until Dec. 11, due to concerns about forecasted winds on Dec. 9 — the date that was originally set for Laura Shepard Churchley’s launch. Her late father was the first American in space in 1961, and his suborbital spaceflight was the inspiration for New Shepard’s name.
Five other spacefliers will be waiting alongside Churchley for the suborbital trip at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas: Michael Strahan, a co-anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America”; Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and Cameron Bess, the first parent-and-child duo to go into space together; and two business executives, Evan Dick and Dylan Taylor. Churchley and Strahan are flying as Blue Origin’s guests, while the others are paying an undisclosed fare.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture is planning to fly six suborbital space travelers next month, which would mark a first for the company’s New Shepard spaceship. And that’s far from the only first.
If the NS-19 mission proceeds as planned on Dec. 9, the people on board will include the first parent-and-child team in space, the first professional U.S. journalist in space, and the first daughter of an astronaut to go into space herself.
To cap it all off, the astronaut’s daughter is Laura Shepard Churchley — whose father, Alan Shepard, was the first American in space in 1961, providing the inspiration for New Shepard’s name.
“It’s kind of fun for me to say an original Shepard will fly on the New Shepard,” Churchley, 74, said in a video clip released by Blue Origin. “I’m really excited to be going on a Blue Origin flight. I’m very proud of my father’s legacy.”
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has been getting a lot of press lately, but the Amazon founder and chairman says he’s spending more money nowadays on Earth’s environmental welfare through his Bezos Earth Fund.
Four and a half years ago, Bezos told reporters that he was selling about a billion dollars’ worth of his Amazon stock on a yearly basis to put toward Blue Origin.
But at least for the time being, he says that’s trumped by his $10 billion, 10-year commitment to the Bezos Earth Fund, which distributes grants to projects around the globe. During this month’s U.N. climate summit in Scotland, the fund announced a $2 billion round of grants supporting land restoration and food production.
Bezos cited the funding during last week’s Ignatius Forum at the Washington National Cathedral in D.C. as evidence that he wasn’t just a starry-eyed billionaire with no concern about Earth’s welfare.
A month after taking a suborbital space trip alongside Star Trek actor William Shatner, medical-technology entrepreneur Glen de Vries has died in a New Jersey small-plane crash.
New Jersey State Police identified de Vries, 49, as one of two people killed on Thursday when their single-engine Cessna 172 went down in a wooded area shortly after takeoff from Caldwell, N.J. The other fatality was Thomas P. Fisher, 54, NJ.com quoted authorities as saying.
De Vries was the co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a medical software company that was acquired by Dassault Systemes in 2019 for $5.8 billion. He bought a ticket for an undisclosed price from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture to go on the company’s second crewed suborbital spaceflight in October – and trained alongside Shatner as well as Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers.