KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — Today, Blue Origin announced New Shepard’s 18th mission, NS-18, will lift off on Tuesday, October 12, carrying four astronauts to space and back, including Dr. Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, Vice-Chair, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Dassault Systèmes and co-founder, Medidata. The two other astronauts will be announced in the coming days.
[Editor’s Note: TMZ.com reported Star Trek actor William Shatner will be aboard the upcoming flight. There’s been no confirmation of that report.]
Live launch coverage begins on BlueOrigin.com at T-60 minutes. Liftoff is currently targeted for 8:30 am CDT/ 13:30 UTC from Launch Site One in West Texas.
This flight follows Blue Origin’s successful first human flight on July 20 which included Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and Blue Origin’s first customer, Oliver Daemen. Here is a recap of their historic mission to space.
Also on board NS-18 will be thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future.
Meet Dr. Chris Boshuizen
Chris’s career has been dedicated to pushing the boundaries of space and igniting youth excitement in pursuing careers in STEM. He co-founded Planet Labs (Planet) in 2010 and served as the CTO for five years. Under his technical leadership Planet became the first company to commercially utilize nanosatellites, and now—having launched over 450 satellites—provides daily, global mapping of our changing planet from space.
From 2008 to 2012, Chris served as a Space Mission Architect at NASA’s Ames Research Center where he co-invented the NASA Phonesat, a free-flying orbital satellite built out of an ordinary smartphone. While at NASA, Chris also established Singularity University, a school for studying the consequences of accelerating technological development. While pursuing his BSc and then PhD in Physics from the University of Sydney, he organized several international space conferences for the youth of the world. He also served as the first Executive Director of the Space Generation Advisory Council.
“This is a fulfillment of my greatest childhood dream,” said Dr. Chris Boshuizen. “More importantly, though, I see this flight as an opportunity to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM and catalyze the next generation of space explorers. After all, our future of life in space is in their very capable hands.”
Meet Glen de Vries
Glen de Vries co-founded Medidata Solutions in 1999, the world’s most used clinical research platform. The company’s software has powered over 25,000 clinical trials with more than seven million patients in every therapeutic area, from vaccines to cancers and rare diseases. He is the Vice Chair of Life Sciences and Healthcare at Dassault Systèmes, which acquired Medidata in 2019. Glen serves as a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, is the author of “The Patient Equation,” and is an instrument rated private pilot.
“I’ve spent my entire career working to extend people’s lives. However, with limited materials and energy on Earth, extending our reach into space can help humanity continue to thrive,” said Glen de Vries. “Furthermore, astronauts can experience the ‘overview effect,’ gaining a new perspective on how fragile and precious our planet, those resources, and our civilization are. Playing a part in advancing the space industry and one day making those resources and that understanding available to everyone, is an incredible opportunity. I’ve been passionate about aviation and space for as long as I can remember, so this flight is truly a dream come true.”