A Florida couple who were among the first to purchase sub-orbital spaceflights from Richard Branson's space tourism company Virgin Galactic will reach the edge of space; instead, it will be with Branson's competitor Blue Origin.
On Monday, Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin announced the passengers onboard New Shepard's fourth human spaceflight.
The crew of six paying customers includes SNL writer and comedian Pete Davidson, who has been rumored to be among the crew, but Monday's official announcement confirmed it. The New Shepard-20 (NS-20) mission includes husband and wife Sharon and Marc Hagle of Central Florida, who were early investors with Virgin Galactic. Party America CEO and angel investor Marty Allen, University of North Carolina business professor Jim Kitchen and George Nield, the former associate administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation, round out the three other crew members.
Blue Origin said it is targeting March 23 to launch its next space tourists from its West Texas launch site. The launch is targeted for 8:30 a.m. Central and will mark New Shepard's 20th flight overall.
The NS-20 crew will stay in Blue Origin's astronaut village leading up to their flight. Blue Origin said all six passengers would carry postcards from students as part of the company's Club for the Future foundation.
The Hagles put down $200,000 with Virgin Galactic and will now fly first with Blue Origin after waiting 18 years.
Marc Hagle is the CEO of Tricor International, a property development company that owns more than 17.4 million square feet of real estate across the U.S. Sharon Hagle founded SpaceKids Global, a STEAM education nonprofit designed to inspire young girls. According to the news release, Hagle's efforts have reached nearly 100,000 students worldwide.
Bezos' company has not disclosed how much its customers pay to fly on New Shepard. An initial auction for the first human spaceflight ended with a $28 million winning bid. Virgin Galactic has yet to begin flying people from its pool of initial investors. Branson launched on SpaceShipTwo last July along with Virgin Galactic staff. Seats on SpaceShipTwo start at $450,000.
Davidson isn't the first or last celebrity to fly with Blue Origin.
The company launched actor William Shatner in October. In December, the last human spaceflight included former NFL player and journalist Michael Strahan along with Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard, the first American in space.