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‘SNL’ star Pete Davidson will not travel to space on Blue Origin flight due to date change

HOUSTON — “SNL” star and Staten Island native Pete Davidson will no longer be aboard the next Blue Origin flight to space.

In a statement, the company said: “Blue Origin’s 20th flight from New Shepard has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 29. Pete Davidson is no longer able to join the NS-20 crew for this mission. We will announce the sixth crew member in the coming days.”

After years of quiet development, Blue Origin’s space-touring rocket made its crewed debut last year with Bezos, flying alongside space community hero Wally Funk, her brother Mark Bezos and fellow space heroes. a paying customer.

Since then, Blue Origin has made headlines for piloting other well-known names on two subsequent flights, including Star Trek star William Shatner and Good Morning America host Michael Strahan.

WATCH: William Shatner, Blue Origin crew explodes to the edge of space

Blue Origin’s goal is to make these suborbital spaceflights a mainstay of pop culture, providing a 10-minute supersonic ride to welcomed guests — who until now have been mostly celebrities — and anyone else who has the means.

Davidson was to be joined on his flight by five paying customers. They include Marty Allen, an investor and former CEO of a party supply store; Jim Kitchen, entrepreneur and business professor; George Nield, former Associate Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Marc Hagle, an Orlando real estate developer and his wife, Sharon Hagle, who founded a space-focused nonprofit.

The crew will spend a few days training at Blue Origin’s facility in West Texas before the day of the flight, when they board the New Shepard crew capsule that sits atop the rocket. After liftoff, the rocket will exceed the speed of sound and, near the top of its flight path, will detach from the capsule. As the rocket booster returns to Earth for a vertical landing, the crewed capsule will continue to climb higher into the atmosphere more than 60 miles above the surface where the blackness of space is visible and the Capsule windows will provide unobstructed views of Earth.

As the flight reaches its climax, passengers will experience a few minutes of weightlessness. Bezos notably spent his time in weightlessness throwing Skittles and turning around in the cabin. Others were glued to the window.

As gravity begins to pull the capsule back to the ground, passengers will once again experience intense g-forces before sets of parachutes are deployed to slow the vehicle. It will then land at less than 20 miles per hour in the Texas desert.

Because the flights are suborbital – meaning they don’t generate enough speed or take the right trajectory to avoid being immediately dragged down by Earth’s gravity – the whole show will only last about 10 minutes.

Blue Origin is the first company to offer scheduled suborbital space tourism flights. Its main competitor, Virgin Galactic, notably made its first crewed flight – which included founder Richard Branson – before Bezos flew last July. But Virgin Galactic has yet to follow up that flight with another crewed flight after it later became clear the company’s spaceplane had deviated from its designated flight path. The company now says it is undergoing independent technology upgrades and could resume flying later this year.

SpaceX is the only private company that offers orbital travel. The company conducted the first-ever all-civilian flight into orbit last September, taking a billionaire and three chosen crewmates on a three-day trip. And later this month, the company plans to take four paying customers on a flight to the International Space Station, which orbits about 200 miles above Earth.

Blue Origin plans to build a rocket powerful enough to reach orbit, called New Glenn. And, in light of the news that Russia can no longer sell rocket engines to the United States, those plans are more urgent than ever. The engines Blue Origin plans to use for New Glenn, the BE-4, will also be used on a future launch vehicle designed by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing that is responsible for major national security launches in the States. -United. ULA currently relies on Russian RD-180 engines.

Blue Origin did not have specific updates on BE-4 when contacted for comment.

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