The first three women to fly into space on Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft have been honored with their very own bobbleheads.
The limited edition figurines (opens in new tab), which feature the spring-loaded nodding heads of commercial astronauts Wally Funk, Audrey Powers and Laura Shepard Churchley, are now available from Blue Origin's online shop (opens in new tab). The bobbleheads are boxed in mission-specific packaging and retail for $34.95 each.
In addition to capturing the likeness of each woman, the Funk, Powers and Churchley bobbleheads depict their subject in the blue flight suit that they wore for their 10-minute-long suborbital spaceflights, complete with name tag and miniature mission patch. Each 7-inch (18 centimeters) statuette is mounted to a black base that also displays the astronaut's name.
Funk is modeled with her arms outstretched, recreating the pose she struck after her NS-16 flight. One of the so-called "Mercury 13" female pilots (opens in new tab) who privately underwent the same medical tests as NASA's "Original 7" Mercury astronauts in the 1960s, Funk finally reached space in July 2021. She flew with three others, including Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos (opens in new tab), on the company's first crewed launch. Funk, who was 82 at the time of her flight, holds the record for the oldest woman to fly into space.
In photos: Blue Origin's 1st New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos
Powers flew on NS-18 in October 2021, the same flight that included actor William Shatner of "Star Trek" fame (opens in new tab). As Blue Origin's vice president for mission and flight operations, Powers became the company's first employee astronaut. Her figurine includes her wearing the custom Omega Speedmaster wristwatch that Blue Origin gifts to each of its New Shepard crew members.
"I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to see the Earth from space, and I wish everyone could share in that experience," Powers said in a statement (opens in new tab) released by Blue Origin.
Churchley's bobblehead includes her wearing two rings, including her father's Naval Academy class ring (opens in new tab), which he flew to the moon in 1971 and then she returned to space on NS-19 (opens in new tab) in December 2021. Churchley is the daughter of Alan Shepard (opens in new tab), the first U.S. astronaut to fly in space, the commander of Apollo 14 and the late namesake for Blue Origin's New Shepard launch vehicle.
The bobbleheads are a new offering for Blue Origin, which also offers company-branded apparel, mission patches, New Shepard scale models and products for its nonprofit educational and advocacy organization, Club for the Future.
To date, Blue Origin has launched six human spaceflights and a total of 31 people (one person flew twice). In September 2022, the company suffered a launch failure on its 23rd New Shepard mission, an uncrewed flight with only science experiments and cargo aboard. Blue Origin is expected to resume flights in 2023.
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