The “Saturday Night Live” star and five other people are scheduled to fly to suborbital space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle on March 23, company representatives announced today (March 14).
Davidson, a nine-year “SNL” cast member who co-wrote and starred in the semi-autobiographical film “The King of Staten Island,” is the latest of several celebrities chosen as non-paying promotional Blue Origin passengers.
Liftoff is targeted for 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT) from Blue Origin’s launch facility in West Texas. You can watch it here at Space.com when the time comes courtesy of Blue Origin, or follow the action directly via the company.
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The 28-year-old comedian and boyfriend of socialite and reality TV star Kim Kardashian was announced by Blue Origin on Monday as an “honorary guest” joining five paying customers for the company’s fourth commercial flight since last summer.
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The March 23 mission will be Blue Origin’s fourth crewed spaceflight and the 20th liftoff overall for New Shepard (which explains the mission’s name, NS-20). Joining Davidson on the flight are businessman and angel investor Marty Allen; married couple Sharon Hagle and Marc Hagle, both of whom are active philanthropists (Sharon Hagle founded the nonprofit SpaceKids Global); entrepreneur and teacher Jim Kitchen; and George Nield, the president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC.
Davidson, who had no immediate comment on his selection, was reported to have been in discussions with Blue Origin earlier this month.
His five fellow citizen astronauts-to-be are: angel investor Marty Allen, real estate veteran Marc Hagle and his wife Sharon Hagle, University of North Carolina professor Jim Kitchen and George Nield, founder-president of Commercial Space Technologies.
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Nield has a long history in the spaceflight field. He formerly served as associate administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, for example, and also managed the Flight Integration Office for NASA’s space shuttle program.
It appears that Davidson is getting a free ride to suborbital space; in a press release announcing the mission this morning, Blue Origin noted that the actor will fly “alongside five customers.”
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They are slated for liftoff on March 23 aboard Blue Origin’s six-story-tall, fully autonomous spacecraft, dubbed New Shepard, from the company launch site outside the rural west Texas town of Van Horn.
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Blue Origin has not revealed how much a seat aboard New Shepard costs. The company’s main competitor in the suborbital tourism realm, Virgin Galactic, is currently charging $450,000 to ride its VSS Unity space plane, which has not yet carried paying passengers.
The entire flight, from liftoff to touchdown, is expected to last a little over 10 minutes. The crew will experience a few minutes of weightlessness at the very apex of their suborbital joyride, some 350,000 feet (106 km) high, then will fall back to Earth for a parachute landing on the desert floor.
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The NS-20 crew manifest continues a trend for Blue Origin, which flew at least one celebrity on each of its first three flights.
New Shepard consists of a rocket and a capsule, both of which are reusable. The capsule gets more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth, letting passengers experience a few minutes of weightlessness as well as see our planet against the blackness of space during missions that last about 11 minutes from liftoff to touchdown.