Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin is planning an all-women crew launch to the edge of space likely by early next year, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Speaking to the outlet, Mr Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, who is an Emmy-winning media personality and trained helicopter pilot, revealed the details of the ongoing plan. She said that she is “super excited” to lead five other women for the upcoming mission.
While the names of the crew members remain unknown, Ms Sanchez told the outlet that they will be “women who are making a difference in the world and who are impactful and have a message to send”. She also said that her boyfriend, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, won't be joining them.
“As much as he wants to go on this flight, I'm going to have to hold him back, he'll be cheering us all on from the sidelines," she said. "I've wanted to be in the rocket from the jump, so [Bezos] is excited to make this happen with all of these women,” Ms Sanchez added.
The launch date is not known at this point, however, Ms Sanchez said that she hopes to fly by early next year. According to The Independent, Ms Sanchez is expected to lead the all-women crew aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle which has so far launched six successful crewed suborbital missions to date.
In one of the earlier Blue Origin flights, Mr Bezos, with three other people including his brother Mark and aviation pioneer Wally Funk, travelled to the edge of space. Another New Shepard crewed flight also lofted four people, including Star Trek actor William Shatner and American football player Michael Strahan, to the final frontier. Apart from the flights to the edge of space, Mr Bezos' company has also done a few NASA missions taking up scientific equipment.
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However, now, Blue Origin may have to wait for the US Federal Aviation Administration to give the space company the green signal for future New Shepard as one of its recent uncrewed mission in September erupted into a fireball during flight. The space shuttle was caught in flames at about a minute and four seconds into the flight, and in a few minutes, flight abort rockets separated capsules, helping it jettison back to Earth safely.
Back then, the FAA stated that before the new Shepard vehicle can return to flight, the aviation authorities will determine whether any systems, processes, or procedures related to the mishap affected public safety. New Shepard hasn't flown, crewed or uncrewed, since the accident.