Many eyes were focused on the skies Thursday as two separate space missions took flight, one launching from West Texas and one from Florida.
Blue Origin launched six crewmembers into space the morning of August 4 aboard the RSS First Step capsule, powered by Blue Origin’s “New Shepard” rocket. The launch took place near Van Horn, Texas.
One of the crew members was Frisco’s own Coby Cotton, the co-founder of Dude Perfect. Cotton is known for trick shots and comedy videos with his “Dude Perfect” crew, which has 57 million YouTube views.
The six-person NS-22 crew also included Portuguese entrepreneur Mario Ferreira, British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, technology leader Clint Kelly III, Egyptian engineer Sara Sabry, and telecommunications executive Steve Young.
The official launch time for the 10-minute-and-20-second flight was 8:56 a.m. Seven minutes into the flight, the crew hit zero gravity as they entered the edge of space. The capsule landed at 9:06 a.m., with Dude Perfect tweeting, “Coby is officially an astronaut!”
Three parachutes on the reusable spaceship deployed during descent, giving the crew a safe landing in the West Texas desert. This was the sixth human flight for Blue Origin.
Before the crew’s departure, they signed postcards to take to space, and each member was certified “ready to fly” by CrewMember 7 Sarah Knights.
Blue Origin is racing for space tourism dollars against Elon Musk’s Space X and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactica. The flight was the 23rd consecutive capsule landing and the eighth consecutive booster landing for the “New Shepard” rocket.
Space X also had a lunar mission scheduled for Thursday at 7:08 p.m. ET. Space X launched the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KLPO) to a ballistic lunar transfer orbit from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The mission, managed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, marked South Korea’s first mission to the moon. A live webcast of the mission was set for 15 minutes before takeoff.