Jeff Bezos' girlfriend to lead all-female crew on space expedition
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Featured Image Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage
Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ private space firm, will send his girlfriend Lauren Sánchez and a crew of women to space in early 2024.
It will mark the first ever all-female crew in space, although the identities of the five women joining Sanchez has not yet been confirmed by the company.
Sánchez, 53, will follow in her billionaire boyfriend’s space boot steps.
Bezos, 59, travelled to space with three crew mates - his brother Mark Bezos, 56, pioneering female aviator Wally Funk, 83, and physics student Oliver Daemen, 20 - on the maiden flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle on 20 July 2021.
Understandably, Sánchez is ‘super excited’ and ‘a little nervous’ about leaving earth and going into space.
“It’s going to be women who are making a difference in the world and who are impactful and have a message to send,” she told the Wall Street Journal Magazine.
The plans to send Sánchez with a crew of women into space are similar to that of NASA, which will send the first female astronauts to the moon in 2025 as part of its Artemis programme.
The Amazon founder and former CEO of the company entered the space sector in 2000, two years before fellow billionaire Elon Musk founded SpaceX.
Bezos is said to be ‘very encouraging’ of his girlfriend’s space ambitions and is ‘thrilled’ it’s happening.
“As much as he wants to go on this flight, I’m going to have to hold him back,” she said.
“He’ll be cheering us all on from the sidelines.”
The former news anchor is highly accomplished in her own right. She’s a licensed helicopter pilot and is the founder of Black Ops Aviation, a female-owned aerial film and production company.
The mum-of-three said her boyfriend - whose she has been with since 2019 after Bezos divorced his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott - ‘inspires' her.
“He’s so happy, he inspires me every day, he makes me a better person every day; he’s the most loving human I know,” she told WSJ Magazine.
Bezos intends to pioneer an era of commercialised space travel, where regular folks like you and I are able to view the Earth from space.
However, Blue Origin customers currently have to pay several million dollars to get that experience.
The suborbital Blue Origin shuttle flights last about 10 minutes, allowing crew members to fly about 60 miles above Earth's surface, giving them the chance to experience a few minutes of weightlessness before their eventual return to Earth in a parachute-controlled descent.
The most recent crewed Blue Origin space flight took place in August 2022 and was the sixth overall flight by the company.
It sent the first Egyptian and Portuguese nationals to space - engineer Sara Sabry and entrepreneur Mario Ferrari, respectively.