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Blue Origin plans second crewed space launch from Texas

The New Shepard rocket RSS First Step carries Jeff Bezos and crew into space in July. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin
The New Shepard rocket RSS First Step carries Jeff Bezos and crew into space in July. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Blue Origin plans to launch people into space for the second time from Texas on Oct. 12, carrying two businessmen and two others to be announced later.

The NS-18 mission scheduled to lift off on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket at 9:30 a.m. EDT from the company's spaceport about 160 miles east of El Paso.

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The two named crew members are Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of San Francisco-based satellite company Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, a French software firm executive and co-founder of New York clinical trials technology firm Medidata, according to Blue Origin.

The two men are paying customers who participated in a Blue Origin online auction for tickets to fly in June, the company confirmed. The top bid in that auction was $28 million, but the Blue Origin hasn't disclosed how much subsequent tickets cost.

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Boshuizen posted his reaction on YouTube shortly after learning he was on the mission.

"Oh, my god! I'm going to space. I can't believe it," he said in the short YouTube clip.

The flight will fulfill a childhood dream for Boshuizen, he said on Twitter.

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"I see this flight as an opportunity to inspire students to pursue careers in [science and technology] and catalyze the next generation of space explorers," he said in a Blue Origin news release.

On Twitter, de Vries said he's been passionate about space exploration his entire life.

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"A long-awaited dream of mine is about to become a reality: I'm boarding the #NewShepard's second human flight, Oct. 12," de Vries said.

The 11-minute is to cross the Karman line, an international definition of space, about 62 miles high. The crew will experience about three minutes of weightlessness at the apex before returning to Earth under the capsule's parachutes, Blue Origin said.

The company plans to stream live coverage of the launch starting an hour before liftoff.

The mission builds on Blue Origin's successful first human flight July 20, which included Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, aviator Wally Funk, and the company's first customer Oliver Daemen.

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The mission also will carry postcards that are distributed to students after returning to Earth as part of Blue Origin's nonprofit foundation to encourage interest in space, Club for the Future.

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Inspiration4, the world's first all-civilian mission to space, safely returns to Earth while splashing down on the Atlantic Ocean outside of Florida, on September 18, 2021, following their groundbreaking three-day mission. Photo courtesy of SpaceX | License Photo

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