Blue Origin sent another set of tourists into space on Aug. 4. 2022. The sixth spaceflight by Blue Origin put six individuals into suborbital space and safely returned them to their home planet.
Follow along with the mission, from launch to landing, in this gallery.
Blue Origin's NS-22 passenger group in front of the New Shepard spacecraft before the mission.
The six folks on board were Coby Cotton, one of the founders of the popular YouTube channel Dude Perfect; entrepreneur Mário Ferreira and biomedical engineer Sara Sabry, who became the first people from Portugal and Egypt, respectively, to reach space; technology pioneer Clint Kelly III; telecommunications executive (not former NFL quarterback) Steve Young; and adventurer Vanessa O'Brien.
The NS-22 crew proceeds to its launch site in South Texas in local vehicles. Blue Origin typically offers about 14 hours of training for its crews, which usually fly with no spaceflight experience whatsoever.
The company also has not yet disclosed tickets for its seats. Competitor Virgin Galactic sells seats at $450,000 apiece. (Virgin is upgrading its fleet following a successful human spaceflight on July 20, 2021 with founder Richard Branson, and plans to run trips again in 2023.)
The NS-22 mission lifts off at about 9:57 a.m. EDT (1357 GMT) from South Texas. The New Shepard rocket both launches the crew and lands autonomously after the launch.
Overall, Blue Origin has made 22 flights, both crewed and uncrewed, to the final frontier. New Shepard is named after Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut to reach space. (Shepard's daughter, Laura Shepard Churchley, flew on another Blue Origin flight in December 2021.)
Passengers aboard NS-22 float in space. The rocket allows the New Shepard spacecraft to achieve a parabolic flight, which puts the passengers into weightlessness for a few minutes, like a roller coaster.
The passengers get to float around for a few minutes and look at Earth through the window. No pilot flies on board, as the system is autonomous and Blue Origin prefers to reserve seats for revenue-generating opportunities.
Clint Kelly III, who is credited with creating technology that forms the basis of today's driverless cars, enjoys the view during NS-22.
"I was struck by it like everyone else," Kelly said, after the spaceflight, of what he saw. "The transition from blue to purple to black. And when that occurred, I realized I was in a new place. So I was at the gateway to the new frontier."
The NS-22 crew descends safely to Earth in the New Shepard spacecraft, underneath its parachutes. As the spacecraft descended, one of the passengers shouted "Woohoo! We're not going to die. Our poor families," in comments broadcasted on the Blue Origin livestream.
After a pause, a Blue Origin webcaster reassured viewers the passenger was "living in the moment" during an otherwise successful descent.
A view from above captures the parachutes above the New Shepard spacecraft just moments before the vehicle touched down in the Texan desert and kicked up dust. The six passengers then awaited recovery personnel from Blue Origin before they emerged from the spacecraft to greet friends and family.
Read more: New Shepard: Rocket for space tourism
The New Shepard spacecraft in the minutes before recovery personnel arrived. In the background you can see the convoy of technicians and well-wishers arriving at the landing site to greet the crew.
Typically, family members and friends of the crew head out to the spacecraft after landing to take celebratory pictures with the returned passengers.
The six passengers of NS-22 hold up various flags after returning back to Earth. Notably, this set of individuals included Mário Ferreira and Sara Sabry, who became the first people from Portugal and Egypt, respectively, to reach space.
The other passengers included Coby Cotton, one of the founders of the popular YouTube channel Dude Perfect; technology pioneer Clint Kelly III; telecommunications executive (not former NFL quarterback) Steve Young; and Vanessa O'Brien.