Entrepreneur and Blue Origin founder, Jeff Bezos, has announced that his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, will lead an all-female space mission in early 2024. If completed, it would be the first all-female space crew. Though Bezos spoke about the mission with the Wall Street Journal, the identities of the five women will not be revealed until closer to date of the launch, which has not yet been officially confirmed by the company.
The mission will come ahead of NASA’s plans to take the first female astronauts to the Moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis program. A television host, Lauren Sanchez is a licensed helicopter pilot and founder of Black Ops Aviation, a woman-owned aerial film and production company. The fact that she has no experience as an astronaut is not seen as an impediment. Blue Origin has stated that its goal is to take civilians into space, not professional astronauts.
They will be women who are making a difference in the world and who are impactful and have a message to send.Lauren Sanchez
Crew members will be fully trained for the flight into space in just two days, according to the company. At the moment, Blue Origin has two launch vehicles, including New Shepard, named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard. The autonomous, reusable vehicle consists of a crew capsule and a rocket booster, powered by a mixture of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
It is unknown what a ticket on this luxury transport will cost, although one bidder paid up to $28 million for a seat on the first flight, which took place in 2021. Blue Origin is also working on a lunar lander, called Blue Moon, which it intends to launch in 2024. “Blue Moon is a flexible lander that delivers a wide variety of small, medium and large payloads to the lunar surface,” the company says on its website.
On August 4th, 2022, Blue Origin’s 6th space tourism mission and 22nd overall flight (NS-22) was completed successfully. The astronaut crew included: Coby Cotton, Mário Ferreira, Vanessa O’Brien, Clint Kelly III, Sara Sabry, and Steve Young.
The crew achieved three historic firsts: Sara Sabry became the first person from Egypt to fly to space; Vanessa O’Brien became the first woman to reach extremes on land (Mt. Everest), sea (Challenger Deep) and air (pass the Kármán line), completing the Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record, while Mário Ferreira became the first person from Portugal to fly to space.
Each astronaut carried a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose Postcards to Space program gives students access to space on Blue Origin’s rockets. The Club’s mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for the benefit of Earth.