Blue Origin announces crew for next suborbital space tourism launch
Blue Origin just announced the identities of the next six people it will launch to the final frontier.
Unlike the company’s previous four spaceflights, no celebrity passenger is listed among the group. (“Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson was supposed to fly aboard Blue Origin’s most recent mission, known as NS-20, but he backed out due to a scheduling conflict after the mission’s launch date changed.)
The company hasn’t yet released a flight date for the NS-21 mission, nor disclosed how much the passengers paid. Historically, it is mostly the very rich who can participate in such spaceflight opportunities directly, although this particular crew includes a person from the nonprofit Space For Humanity’s sponsored citizen astronaut program that flies individuals to space for free, following an application process.
Below are descriptions of the six individuals flying aboard NS-21.
Evan Dick will be the first person to fly aboard a New Shepard spacecraft twice, having been a participant in the NS-19 mission of Dec. 11, 2021. He is a pilot, engineer, investor and managing member of Dick Holdings, LLC. Previously, he was senior vice president of D.E. Shaw and managing director of Highbridge Capital Management. He supports the Darwin Foundation, Population Relief International Corp. and Starfighters Aerospace either through charity or as a volunteer, according to Blue Origin’s NS-21 mission announcement.
Katya Echazarreta, born in Guadalajara, will become the first Mexican-born individual to visit space. She is the co-host of the YouTube series “Netflix IRL” and “Electric Kat” on the CBS show “Mission Unstoppable.” She spent nearly four years at NSAA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, working on space missions including the Perseverance Mars rover and Europa Clipper, which will launch toward the Jupiter moon Europa in 2024. She is pursuing a masters degree in electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University and aims to “provide representation for women and minorities” for those interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), according to Blue Origin. Her seat was sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity.
Hamish Harding is chair of the business jet brokerage company Action Aviation, as well as a business jet pilot. He holds several aviation world records, including a 2019 milestone with retired NASA astronaut Terry Virts for breaking a round-the-world record for aircraft flying over the north and south poles. Harding has also visited the South Pole twice and dove to 36,000 feet (nearly 10,100 meters) in a submarine in 2021.
Victor Correa Hespanha
Victor Correa Hespanha, 28, is a civil production engineer from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. His seat was sponsored by the Crypto Space Agency, and he is identifying himself as the world’s first cryptonaut. He is also the second Brazilian to fly in space, according to Blue Origin.
Jaison Robinson founded the commercial real estate company JJM Investments and co-founded Dream Variations Ventures with his wife, Jamie. Robinson lists himself as an avid scuba diver and skydiver with a variety of adventurous activities under his belt, such as breaking the sound barrier in a Mig-29 jet, making Eagle Scout, playing water polo at Stanford University and becoming a finalist in “Survivor: Samoa” in 2009.
Victor Vescovo Victor
Victor Vescovo Victor is a co-founder of the private equity investment firm Insight Equity. He completed an “Explorer’s Grand Slam,” which is an adventurer community term for skiing to the North and South Poles and climbing the highest mountains on the world’s seven continents, including Everest. He is a commercially rated multi-engine jet and helicopter pilot, as well as a certified submersible test pilot, and he has visited the Challenger Deep (the deepest point in the ocean) 12 times, according to Blue Origin. He also served 20 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer, retiring as a commander.