Blue Origin's next set of spaceflyers includes a prior customer and the first Mexican-born woman to visit the final frontier.
The NS-21 mission is set to fly from Blue Origin's Launch Site One near Van Horn, Texas, on Saturday morning (June 4). If all goes according to plan, the company's New Shepard vehicle will carry six people on a brief trip to suborbital space.
As is typical of past missions, most of the individuals on board are wealthy people who have paid for their seats. A notable exception is a participant from the nonprofit Space For Humanity's sponsored citizen astronaut program, which flies individuals to space for free following an application process.
Blue Origin was established by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who flew to space himself aboard New Shepard's debut crewed mission on July 20, 2021. NS-21 will be Blue Origin's fifth crewed mission and 21st mission for New Shepard overall, crewed or uncrewed.
Here's some information about the six passengers who will fly on NS-21.
Evan Dick previously flew to space on board the NS-19 mission of Dec. 11, 2021, and will be the first person to launch twice aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft. He is managing member of Dick Holdings, LLC, and previously served as senior vice president of D.E. Shaw and managing director of Highbridge Capital Management. He lists himself as a pilot, engineer and investor. His charitable work includes contributions to the Darwin Foundation, Population Relief International Corp. and Starfighters Aerospace either through charity or as a volunteer, according to Blue Origin's NS-21 mission announcement (opens in new tab).
Katya Echazarreta's seat was sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity (opens in new tab). Born in Guadalajara, she will become the first Mexican-born woman to visit space. Echazarreta is the co-host of the YouTube series "Netflix IRL" and "Electric Kat" on the CBS show "Mission Unstoppable." Prior to that, she worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California on space missions including the Perseverance Mars rover and Europa Clipper. Echazarreta is excited to represent women and minorities interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), according to Blue Origin.
Hamish Harding founded the business-jet brokerage company Action Aviation in 2004 and currently serves as its chairman. He's also a pilot and adventurer. In 2019, for example, he and former NASA astronaut Terry Virts broke the round-the-world record for an aircraft flying over both the North and South poles, according to Blue Origin. Harding holds several other aviation records, has travelled to the South Pole twice, and in 2021 explored the Challenger Deep, the deepest known spot on Earth's seafloor, in a submersible with fellow NS-21 crewmate Victor Vescovo.
Victor Correa Hespanha
Victor Correa Hespanha, 28, had his seat sponsored by the Crypto Space Agency, and he is identifying himself as the world's first cryptonaut. He is a civil production engineer from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais and will become the second Brazilian to fly in space, according to Blue Origin.
Jaison Robinson was a finalist on the TV show "Survivor: Samoa" in 2009. He later founded the commercial real estate company JJM Investments and co-founded Dream Variations Ventures with his wife, Jamie. His adventure activities include skydiving, scuba diving, breaking the sound barrier in a Mig-29 jet, playing water polo at Stanford University and making Eagle Scout, according to Blue Origin.
Victor Vescovo is a co-founder of the private equity investment firm Insight Equity and a retired U.S. Navy reservist and intelligence officer. His adventure activities include completing an "Explorer's Grand Slam," meaning he skiied to the North and South Poles and climbed the highest mountains on the world's seven continents, including Everest. Vescovo is also a commercially rated multi-engine jet and helicopter pilot, as well as a certified submersible test pilot. Blue Origin says he has visited the Challenger Deep (the deepest point in the ocean) a dozen times.
Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:45 p.m. EDT on May 31 with the new planned launch date of June 4. Blue Origin had been targeting May 20 for the NS-21 launch but pushed it back to investigate a possible issue with the New Shepard vehicle.