Blue Origin, the space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, took another step toward launching people to the edge of space Wednesday with a test flight of its New Shepard booster and crew capsule over West Texas. “It’s time,” Bezos wrote on Instagram after the flight, suggesting Blue Origin plans to move forward with suborbital launches carrying human passengers above the atmosphere.
A 29-year-old cancer survivor, now a physician’s assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will blast off aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule later this year for a flight dedicated to raising money for the Memphis medical center. It will be the first orbital spaceflight with no professional astronauts on board.
Building on development for NASA’s commercial crew program, Space Adventures announced an agreement Tuesday with SpaceX to fly up to four paying space tourists on a standalone mission aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft in late 2021 or 2022 that could reach an altitude two-to-three times higher than the International Space Station.