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Pete Davidson won't launch to space with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin after all

Actor Pete Davidson attending an event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Sept. 13, 2021.
Actor Pete Davidson attending an event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on Sept. 13, 2021. (Image credit: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Update for March 28: Blue Origin has delayed the planned launch of the NS-20 mission to Thursday (March 31) at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT), citing predicted high winds on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 29 and March 30).

Pete Davidson won't make it space next week after all. 

The actor and "Saturday Night Live" star was scheduled to launch on March 23 aboard New Shepard, a suborbital rocket built by Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin. But Blue Origin has delayed the launch, which will carry five other passengers, to March 29 and Davidson can no longer make the flight. 

"Pete Davidson is no longer able to join the NS-20 crew on this mission," Blue Origin wrote in a statement late Thursday (March 17). "We will announce the sixth crew member in the coming days." Blue Origin did not state the cause of the New Shepard's launch delay. 

In photos: Blue Origin's 1st New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos

"Saturday Night Live" star Pete Davidson was one of the six people who will fly on Blue Origin's fourth crewed spaceflight, which was scheduled to launch on March 23, 2022. The mission has been delayed to March 29 and Davidson will no longer be aboard. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

Davidson was one of six passengers to launch on Blue Origin's NS-20 mission, the fourth crewed space tourism flight by the company. He was to launch with businessman and investor Marty Allen;  philanthropists Sharon Hagle and Marc Hagle, who are married; entrepreneur and teacher Jim Kitchen; and George Nield, the president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC, and former associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

All five of those passengers will still launch with Blue Origin. But with Davidson now unavailable, who their sixth crewmember will be remains to be seen. 

Blue Origin has launched a series of celebrities and high-profile passengers for free alongside paying passengers who bought tickets to ride on the New Shepard rocket.

Jeff Bezos himself was the first passenger to ride New Shepard last July. He launched with his brother Mark Bezos, guest and aviation pioneer Wally Funk and a paying passenger. Blue Origin then launched "Star Trek" actor William Shatner and NFL star Michael Strahan on subsequent flights last year. Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of famed NASA Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, joined Strahan on his flight as a guest in December. 

Blue Origin has not revealed how much a trip on New Shepard costs, although the company's main space tourism competitor is Virgin Galactic, which charges $450,000 per seat for rides on its VSS Unity space plane. Virgin Galactic expects to begin passenger flights this year after launching a crewed flight with billionaire Sir Richard Branson aboard last summer.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifts off from the company's West Texas launch site, carrying Jeff Bezos along with his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old Wally Funk, on July 20, 2021. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

The New Shepard launch system features a reusable rocket booster and crew capsule. The company launches crewed and uncrewed flights from a site in West Texas near Van Horn. The New Shepard rocket launches its crew capsule up to an altitude above 62 miles (100 kilometers), with passengers experiencing several minutes of weightlessness and seeing sweeping views of Earth from space. 

The crew capsule returns to Earth to make a parachute landing while the New Shepard booster makes a vertical landing using its rocket engine. NS-20 will be Blue Origin's 20th mission overall with its New Shepard system.

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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.