Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has launched its sixth tourist trip into suborbital space that helped the first woman complete the Explorer’s Extreme Trifecta.
This honor is gained by reaching the highest point on Earth, venturing to the deepest corner of the sea and soaring into space – Victor Vescovo is the only other person to complete all three.
Vanessa O’Brien, 57, scaled the peak of Mount Everest in 2012 and two years later, the British-American dived 35,843 feet to the Challenger Deep – the deepest known point of the seabed of Earth.
Two other crew members made history as well following Thursday’s launch. Sara Sabry and Mário Ferreira who are now the first people of Egyptian and Portuguese decent to go into space.
Also along for the epic journey was Clint Kelly III, a former member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Steve Young who is the former owner of Florida’s largest communications firm and YouTube star Coby Cotton.
The launch was delayed for 20 minutes, leaving the crew anxiously waiting inside the capsule, but when the clock hit ‘zero’ at 9:57am ET, a loud roar was heard echoing through the desert as New Shepard ignited its seven engines. ‘God speed Titanium feather,’ a Blue Origin commenter said referring to the name the crew gave themselves.
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Vanessa O’Brien is the first woman to complete the Explorer Extreme Trifecta. She previously scaled the peak of Mount Everest in 2012
In 2020 the British-American dived 35,843 feet to the Challenger Deep – the deepest known point of the seabed of Earth. The last part of the trifecta is going to space, which she has marked off the list
Obrien is the second woman to reach Challenger Deep after astronaut Kathy Sullivan, who was part of O’Brien’s team that ventured into the depths. And Vescovo was the pilot that took her on the mission to reach the deepest point on the planet.
O’Brien grew up in Michigan, US, and moved to London in 1999. She began a career in consumer accounts for many large bank firms like Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Bank. But when the recession hit in 2010, she had a change of heart – and she quit her job to embark on a journey to complete the Explorer’s Extreme Trifecta.
The last part of the honor began when the New Shepherd rocket took off from Blue Origin’s West Texas facility.
The rocket hit Max Q, the point when an aerospace vehicle’s atmospheric flight reaches maximum dynamic pressure, one minute and five seconds after launch, as it traveled more than 1,600 miles per hour.
Blue Origin’s sixth mission took (left to right) Clint Kelly III, Sara Sabry, Mário Ferreira, Coby Cotton, Steve Young and Vanessa O’Brien to suborbital space
And at two minute and 31 seconds, the shiny, white crew capsule separated from the rocket and continued on its path toward space.
The capsule hoovered for about five minutes while at 62 miles above the surface and then made a proud trip back to Earth.
Three red and white parachutes shot out of the capsule at eight minutes and 30 seconds, helping the craft glide back to the ground for a soft landing in the Texas desert.
The New Shepperd rocket took off at 9:57am ET, following a 20 minute delay
The crew soared into space and hovered for five minutes before returning to Earth. Blue and white parachutes were released from the capsule to guide it for a soft landing
The crew can be heard screaming ‘we aren’t going to die’ from inside the capsule, along with others describing how they feel sweaty from the epic adventure.
The journey lasted just 10 minute and 27 seconds, but as a Blue Origin commentator said, ‘the experience will last a lifetime.’
Today’s mission also marks the 22nd time the New Shepard has launched.
All six members received a special challenge coin shortly after arriving at the training center earlier this morning.
The coin represents belonging and the achievement of something great and is only awarded to astronauts who passed training and are set to fly on a spacecraft.
The New Shepherd first stage landed safely back on the return pad before the capsule (back) touched down in the Texas desert
The crew can be heard screaming ‘we aren’t going to die’ from inside the capsule, along with others describing how they feel sweaty from the epic adventure
The team climbed the tower about 30 minutes before launch and each rung a hanging silver bell before walking through a tunnel on the way to the launch capsule, which says above it ‘light this candle.’
And now at 10:09 am ET, the crew has finished ‘one of the most amazing days of their lives.’
Each crew member is now deemed an astronaut.
Cotton is known for his YouTube sports channel Dude Perfect that has 57 million followers.
The channel was birthed in 2009 when Cotton and his college roommates, Garrett Hilbert, Tyler Toney, Cody Jones, and his brother, Cory Cotton, started posting comedy videos and trick shots.
Cotton’s seat was sponsored by MoonDAO, which describes itself at being ‘an international collective of people united by the mission of decentralizing access to space research and exploration.’
Sabry, 29, is now the first Egyptian to fly to space. Her company Deep Space Initiative works increasing accessibility for space research.
She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the American University in Cairo and a master’s in biomedical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano.
And Sabry’s seat is sponsored by Space for Humanity.
The journey lasted just 10 minute and 27 seconds, but as a Blue Origin commentator said, ‘the experience will last a lifetime.’ Today’s mission also marks the 22nd time the New Shepard has launched
This nonprofit ‘serves purpose-driven leaders through a sponsored spaceflight experience to create a profound shift in perspective, so that each citizen astronaut returns with a grander perspective to address our most intractable challenges and their solutions.’
Ferreira, 54, the first person from Portugal to fly into space, is an entrepreneur, investor and President of Pluris Investments Group.
According to Space.com, Ferreira spends his free time scuba diving, running and participating in a car rally known as the Dakar.
Sabry is now the first person of Portuguese decent, while Cotton could be considered the first YouTube star to visit the final frontier
Young told DailyMail.com that he paid for his seat aboard the rocket. He is a businessman who lives in Florida. O’Brien made history Thursday by becoming the first woman to complete the Explorer Extreme Trifecta
O’Brien, 57, also made history Thursday, as the first woman to complete the Explorers’ extreme trifecta of reaching space.
She climbed Earth’s highest peak, Mount Everest and ventured to our planet’s deepest extent – the Challenger Deep. And now the last part of the trifecta is her trip to space.
Kelly has been working at DARPA since 1984 and is credited with developing early technology that birthed the era of autonomous vehicles.
Kelly (left) is credited for pioneering the technology used in autonomous vehicles. Ferreira is the first person from Portugal to fly into space, is an entrepreneur, investor and President of Pluris Investments Group
And Young, 59, who is a paying customer, is known for owning Florida’s largest telecommunications contractor, Young’s Communications or Y-com.
Young told DailyMail.com that he sold the company when it was generating $100 million annually and it was acquired by Grain Management, which only purchases companies valued between $20 million to $150 million.
Young, who lives in Indialantic, also owns Pineapples, a restaurant, music venue and rooftop bar in Eau Gallie, Florida – which he opened shortly before selling Y-com.
NS-22 brings the total of people flown to space by Blue Origin to 31 since the first one took off July 2021 that took Bezos himself to the final frontier.