Blue Origin's first crewed space tourism mission of 2022 is go for launch today with a crew of six, the company has announced. The NS-20 mission is set to take place at the company's launch facility in Van Horn, Texas at 9:30 AM ET after a two-day delay due to high winds.
Passengers will ride aboard the New Shepard reusable launch system which marks its 20th flight to date (hence the NS-20 mission designation). The crew includes angel investor Marty Allen, nonprofit founder Sharon Hagle, Hagle's husband and Tricor CEO Marc Hagle, entrepreneur Jim Kitchen and Commercial Space Technologies founder Dr. George Nield.
SNL's Pete Davidson was supposed to be aboard but had to drop due to a scheduling conflict, so he'll be replaced by New Shepard's chief architect, Gary Lai. In previous flights, Blue Shepard has carried Laura Shepard, the daughter of pioneering astronaut (and New Shepard's namesake) Alan Shepard, Michael Strahan, William Shatner and of course Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos.
The company is competing in the space tourist arena with Virgin Galactic, which recently completed its first fully crewed spaceflight with four onboard including owner Richard Branson. Another rival is SpaceX, which did its first tourist spaceflight (Inspiration 4) last year with four civilian passengers.
The livestream for the launch is set to start at 8:20 AM ET, with the launch scheduled for 9:30 AM ET.