The crew of New Shepard NS-20. Pictured from left to right: Gary Lai, Jim Kitchen, Marty Allen, Sharon Hagle, Marc Hagle and George Nield. COURTESY PHOTO, Blue Origin

The crew of New Shepard NS-20. Pictured from left to right: Gary Lai, Jim Kitchen, Marty Allen, Sharon Hagle, Marc Hagle and George Nield. COURTESY PHOTO, Blue Origin

Kent’s Blue Origin successfully completes fourth human spaceflight

Fourth human spaceflight for New Shepard

Kent-based Blue Origin successfully completed Thursday, March 31 its fourth human spaceflight and 20th overall flight for New Shepard.

The astronaut manifest included Marty Allen, a former CEO of Party America, a nationwide retailer; Sharon Hagle, who founded SpaceKids Global, a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire students to excel in the space industry; Marc Hagle, president and CEO of Tricor International, a residential and commercial property development corporation and the husband of Sharon Hagle; Jim Kitchen, a faculty member of University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School; and George Nield, president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC.

“Congratulations to our astronauts on today’s mission above the Kármán Line,” said Phil Joyce, senior vice president of New Shepard for Blue Origin. “We had the honor of safely flying this crew of six – each person with their own story of mentorship and passion for human spaceflight. We’re looking forward to many more flights this year, and we’re grateful to our astronaut customers for their trust in this amazing team.”

The flight, launched from Blue Origin’s West Texas site, lasted 10 minutes and 4 seconds. It reached a max ascent velocity of 2,236 mph. The flight goes up about 62 miles.

According to Blue Origin, this mission furthers the company’s vision of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth.

Blue Origin is planning more crewed and payload flights throughout 2022 and beyond. The company does not release how much people pay to fly into space but customers can sign up at blueorigin.com. Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and Amazon, has invited a celebrity guest most flights to fly as his guest.

Previous flights included Bezos and his brother; “Star Trek” star William Shatner; and “Good Morning America” co-anchor and former NFL star Michael Strahan. “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson had been invited on the most recent flight, but when the flight schedule changed Davidson had to cancel because of a scheduling conflict.

Blue Origin opened in Kent in 2000 and expanded its facility in 2020.


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