Science

Blue Origin’s Audrey Powers is ‘proud and humbled to fly’ in space

For Audrey Powers of Blue Origin, a launch into space this week will fulfill a lifelong dream.

Powers, vice president of flight and mission operations for Blue Origin, will travel in a New Shepard spacecraft on a suborbital journey on Wednesday (October 13) along with “Star Trek” actor William Shatner, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen. and Glen de Vries. , co-founder of the clinical research software platform Medidata Solutions. Launch is scheduled for 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) from Blue Origin Launch Site One in West Texas near Van Horn.

Blue Origin’s official description of the next spacecraft on its flight says the company seeks to “enable a future in which millions of people live and work in space to benefit Earth,” though that future will likely be costly given that its competitor Virgin Galactic is selling seats. for $ 450,000 each. (Blue Origin has yet to release the price of its seats, but it is probably expensive; its first auction for a seat at New Shepard was won for $ 28 million earlier this year.)

You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com home page, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company’s YouTube. The webcast will begin at 8:30 am EDT (1230 GMT).

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Powers will be the first Blue Origin employee to launch in New Shepard, although the company launched billionaire founder Jeff Bezos on a similar suborbital journey in July. That flight, Blue Origin’s first manned space flight, also included Bezos’s brother Mark, 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen from the Netherlands, the company’s first paying passenger. . While Funk set a record for the oldest person in space on that July flight, Shatner (who is 90) will set a new record with Wednesday’s launch.

According to Blue Origins, Powers is firmly focused on diversity, as an executive sponsor of Blue Origin’s New Mercury gender diversity business resource group, and as president of the Federation of Commercial Spaceflight.

Audrey Powers, Vice President of Flight Operations and Missions for Blue Origin (second from left) will fly with “Star Trek” actor William Shatner and two other private citizens as part of a Blue Origin suborbital space flight. The other two are: (left) Glen de Vries, vice president of life sciences and healthcare at French software company Dassault Systèmes, and Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth observation company Planet, right. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

“I am very proud and honored to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I am excited to continue to write the history of space flight manned by Blue,” Powers said in the Blue Origin statement.

He recalled seeing the shuttle launches in his elementary school classroom, during a time when serious equipment was needed to watch events live.

“They would bring the television into the classroom in one of those metal carts and we would watch the pitches,” Powers said. “I was wondering what it would be like to try to find where he lived floating there in a spacesuit.”

Powers pursued his interest through childhood visits to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum (fortunately he lived near its Washington, DC location) and later attended Purdue University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. and astronautics.

Her space experience includes working as a flight controller in NASA mission control, working as an engineer for 10 years with the United Space Alliance, and working for Blue Origin since 2013. She first joined the company as deputy general counsel, then Obtain your law degree from Universidad de Santa Clara.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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