VAN HORN, Texas – Blue Origin launched six people, including a Brevard County restaurant owner, to suborbital space Thursday morning from Launch Site One, the company’s launch facility close to Van Horn, Texas.
Marking Blue Origin’s 22nd excursion with its New Shepard launch vehicle, the NS-22 mission launched at 9:57 a.m. EDT.
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Among the crew was Steve Young, owner of Pineapples in Eau Gallie. In interviews with News 6 partner Florida Today, Young described his excitement ahead of the flight, and his intention to represent the Space Coast in Thursday’s mission.
Young was selected to board the New Shepard following the sale of Young’s Communications, LLC, AKA Y-COM, an infrastructure services provider known to and used by telecommunications, power and utility industries in multiple states.
“With the sale of the company came lots of stupid money. And with stupid money, you can do stupid things,” Steve Young said during an interview with Florida Today.
At Pineapples, employees watched Young’s journey with fascination.
“One of the most generous guys ever. Everyone loves him that knows him,” said employee Sean Gray.
“We’re all looking forward to talking to him about it and can’t wait to hear what he had to say,” said employee Jacob Gralton.
Young was accompanied by five fellow space tourists, with two making history as the first Egyptian and Portuguese people to reach suborbital space, respectively:
- Coby Cotton
- Coby is one of the five cofounders of the YouTube channel Dude Perfect, the most-subscribed sports channel on YouTube and one of the most popular in the world with more than 57 million followers. He co-founded the sports entertainment channel known for specializing in trick shots and comedy videos in 2009 with his college roommates Garrett Hilbert, Tyler Toney, Cody Jones, and his brother, Cory Cotton. Coby’s seat is sponsored by MoonDAO, whose mission is to decentralize access to space exploration. MoonDAO members voted to have Coby represent them on this flight.
- Mário Ferreira
- Mário is a Portuguese entrepreneur, investor, and President of Pluris Investments Group, which includes more than 40 companies spanning tourism, media (TV and radio), real estate, insurance, and renewable energy. A passionate adventurer, Mário raced the Dakar, the world’s most difficult car rally, in 2007, ran the London Marathon in 2010, and has been a scuba diver since he was 20. In 2003, Mário was decorated by the President of Portugal with the title of “Comendador.”
- Vanessa O’Brien
- Vanessa is a British-American explorer. Following NS-22, Vanessa will become the first woman to reach extremes on land, sea, and air, completing the Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record. Vanessa will become the first woman to reach the Earth’s highest peak (Mt. Everest), its deepest (Challenger Deep), and cross the Kármán line, the internationally recognized boundary of space. She is an advocate for climate change and a champion for women’s equality and education, carrying the UN Women’s flag to the summit of K2.
- Clint Kelly III
- Clint managed research and technology programs focused primarily on computer science and robotics while in government and in industry. In 1984, he started the Autonomous Land Vehicle project while at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is credited with starting the development of the technology base leading to today’s driverless cars. He and his wife have photographed wildlife on every continent from the High Arctic to Antarctica with an emphasis on big cats, polar bears, and all 21 species of penguins.
- Sara Sabry
- Sara is an Egyptian mechanical and biomedical engineer, and founder of Deep Space Initiative (DSI), a nonprofit aiming to increase accessibility for space research. She became Egypt’s first female analog astronaut in 2021 after completing a two-week Moon mission simulating the extreme conditions astronauts experience in orbital space. Sara earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the American University in Cairo and a master’s in biomedical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano. She is currently pursuing a PhD in aerospace sciences with a focus on space suit design. Sara is fluent in Arabic, French, and English, and currently resides in Berlin. Sara’s seat is sponsored by Space for Humanity (S4H), a nonprofit whose mission is to expand access to space for all of humanity. S4H also sponsored NS-21 astronaut Katya Echazarreta’s seat.
ClickOrlando.com will stream the launch live at the top of this story when coverage begins.
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