The most recent Blue Origin rocket launch had a very curious passenger—a popular YouTuber.
- This year has been a major one for innovation and space travel. NASA launched Artemis 1, SpaceX is close to launching Starship, Relativity is close to launching a 3D printed rocket, NASA successfully tested its asteroid deflection technology, and the James Webb space telescope was launched.
- One of the lesser-known successes was the beginning of an initiative to boost and promote space tourism, sponsored by MoonDAO—an crypto organization dedicated to decentralizing access to space travel.
- Coby Cotton is a host with the YouTube channel Dude Perfect. He boarded a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket in Van Horn, Texas, on August 4 with five other astronauts and flew for 11 minutes into the upper atmosphere. The capsule landed in the West Texas desert and the booster landed on the pad 7 minutes after launch.
- Dude Perfect released a YouTube video chronicling the launch on November 5. The channel has over 58.5 million subscribers.
Why it’s Important
Space tourism has become one of the most lucrative and immediate financial benefits of space travel and numerous companies have already begun booking prospective customers, including Blue Origin and SpaceX.
Blue Origin has not successfully launched a rocket yet that has broken out of the atmosphere, but they’ve drawn much attention for celebrity launches. Jeff Bezos, William Shatner, and other celebrities have both ridden the short 11-minute flights into the upper atmosphere. The August launch was the sixth manned flight of the New Shepard rocket.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-22 rocket is named for Alan Shepard, the first American in space, who flew an identical short suborbital flight in 1961 aboard a Mercury rocket. His daughter Laura Shepard Churchley flew on the third manned launch in December 2021.
“Cotton’s seat on the ride to the edge of space was sponsored by crypto collective MoonDAO. MoonDAO had asked that voters choose among famous personalities whose spaceflight would be sponsored, and Dude Perfect emerged victorious in the poll,” says News18.
SpaceX previously made news with its plans for space tourism years ago. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa contracted the company in 2017 to be the first citizen to orbit the moon, and that six-day flight is scheduled for 2023. As was announced Thursday, the flight will also carry several entertainers and athletes including DJ Steve Aoki, South Korean rapper T.O.P., photographer Karim Illiya, and YouTuber Tim Dodd.
Maezawa previously flew to the International Space Station in 2021 through a space tourism company Space Adventures.
“Truly the experience of a lifetime. From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” says Cotton.