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Updated August 4th, 2022 at 20:42 IST

Blue Origin completes NS-22 mission; sends six new astronauts to the edge of space

Blue Origin's NS-22 mission lifted off at 7:27 pm IST from West Texas carrying six new crew members, including the first astronauts from Egypt and Portugal.

Reported by: Harsh Vardhan
Edited by: Harsh Vardhan
Blue Origin
Image: Blue Origin | Image:self
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Blue Origin, on Thursday, completed its New Shepard 22 mission as it successfully launched a new crew of six astronauts to the edge of space. The New Shepard booster lifted off at 7:27 pm IST (a little delayed) from the company’s Launch Site One in West Texas and landed after sending the crew capsule outside the Karman Line, the internationally recognised boundary of space at an altitude of 100 km. 

(New Shepard booster launches with six crew members on board from Launch Site One; Image: Blue Origin)

(NS booster lands after at the launch pad after separating from crew capsule; Image: Blue Origin)

After crossing this boundary, the astronauts unstrapped themselves and experienced a few minutes of weightlessness before the capsule parachuted and touched down in the desert. According to the company, the NS-22 mission marked this booster's eighth successful landing. Notably, this was Blue Origin’s sixth human spaceflight and the 22nd overall New Shepard launch. 

(NS-22 crew capsule touches down in West Texas; Image: Blue Origin)

The NS-22 mission also marked the Jeff Bezos-led company’s third launch this year. The previous mission, NS-21 included six astronauts– five male and one female. Katya Echazarreta, the only female crew member scripted history as she became the first Mexican-born woman to reach space. 

(Crew members after mission teams complete recovery operations; Image: Blue Origin)

Records made during the NS-22 mission

With NS-22, Blue Origin also made the record of launching the first Egyptian (Sara Sabry) and first Portuguese (Mario Ferreira) astronauts to cross the Karman Line. The crew also included YouTube channel Dude Perfect’s co-founder Coby Cotton, Vanessa O’Brien, Clint Kelly III and Steve Young. 

After this launch, O’Brien became the first woman to reach the world’s highest (Mt. Everest) and lowest (Challenger Deep) points—and reach space and created a Guinness World Record called Explorers' Extreme Trifecta. Other crew members included Kelly a research scientist in the areas of computer science and robotics and Young, the former CEO of Young's Communications LLC (Y-COM) and a current member of the Space Coast Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). 

The cost of the mission, however, was not revealed as Blue Origin has always refused to discuss the price. However, the previous missions have seen the price range from zero to a whopping $28 million (over Rs220 crore) for a few minutes of weightlessness, according to The New York Times. 

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Published August 4th, 2022 at 20:42 IST

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