The company announced Monday morning that Davidson, the Saturday Night Live Star, who has become the backbone of entertaining intrigue amid his relationship with Kim Kardashian, will fly along with five payment customers on 60-foot-tall New Shepard Blue Origin rockets.
According to Blue Origin, the launch is scheduled for March 23 at 8:30 a.m. CT. The announcement came after CNN confirmed earlier that Davidson was in talks with the company about a place aboard his supersonic rocket, which launches vertically from a Texas rural area to the Bezas Ranch.
After years of quiet development, the Blue Origin space tourism rocket debuted last year with a crew with Bezas, flying alongside space heroine Wally Funk, his brother Mark Bezas and a paying customer.
Since then, Blue Origin has been in the headlines for flying other famous names on the next two flights, including Star Trek star William Shatner and Good Morning America presenter Michael Strehan.
WATCH: William Shatner, Blue Origin Crew Explodes on the Edge of Space
Blue Origin’s goal is to make these suborbital space flights the basis of pop culture, to give a 10-minute supersonic ride to joyful welcome guests – who have so far been mostly celebrities – and anyone who can afford it.
Davidson will join his flight of five solvent clients. Among them are Marty Allen, an investor and former CEO of a party supply store; Jim Kitchen, entrepreneur and business professor; George Nild, former Assistant Administrator of the Commercial Aviation Administration of the Federal Aviation Administration; Mark Hagle, a developer in Orlando, and his wife Sharon Hagle, who founded a nonprofit space-oriented organization.
The crew will spend several days training at the Blue Origin base in West Texas before the day of the flight, when they will climb into the New Shepard crew capsule, which is on top of the rocket. After takeoff, the rocket will break at the speed of sound, and at the top of the flight path will separate from the capsule. When the launch vehicle is sent back to Earth for vertical landing, the capsule with the crew will continue to soar higher into the atmosphere more than 60 miles above the surface, where the darkness of space is visible, and the capsule windows will offer a wide view of the Earth. .
When the flight reaches its peak, passengers will experience a few minutes of weightlessness. Bezos especially spent time in weightlessness, throwing skittles and flipping in the cabin. Others were glued to the window.
When gravity begins to pull the capsule back to the ground, passengers will again experience intense g-forces before sets of parachutes are deployed to slow down the vehicle. It will then land at less than 20 miles per hour in the Texas desert.
Because the flights are suborbital – meaning they don’t generate enough speed or follow the right trajectory to avoid an immediate drag down the earth’s gravity – the whole show will last just about 10 minutes.
Blue Origin was the first company to offer regular suborbital spaceflight. Its main competitor, Virgin Galactic, made its first flight with a crew that included founder Richard Branson, before Bezos ’flight last July. But Virgin Galactic has yet to perform that flight with another flight with the crew after it later became clear that the company’s spacecraft had departed from a certain flight path. Now the company says it is undergoing an unrelated technology upgrade and may return to flight later this year.
SpaceX is the only private company to offer orbit travel. The company completed the first-ever fully civilian flight into orbit last September, taking the billionaire and three select crew members on a three-day voyage. And later this month, the company plans to take four paying customers on a flight to the International Space Station, which orbits about 200 miles above Earth.
Blue Origin does have plans to build a rocket powerful enough to reach orbit, called New Glenn. And in light of the news that Russia may no longer sell rocket engines to the United States, these plans are more relevant than ever. The engines that Blue Origin plans to use for New Glenn, BE-4, will also be used on a future launch vehicle developed by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which is responsible for significant U.S. national security launches. Now the ULA relies on Russian RD-180 engines.
Blue Origin had no specific updates on the BE-4 when asked for comment.
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