July 19, 2024
Indian Citizens to Fly on Blue Origin’s spaceflight program
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Indian Citizens to Fly on Blue Origin’s spaceflight program

Jul 2, 2024

In a significant stride towards democratizing space exploration, the US-based Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA), in collaboration with Jeff Bezos funded Blue Origin, has welcomed India as a partner nation in their innovative human spaceflight program. This initiative aims to provide citizens from countries with limited or no history of astronaut missions an opportunity to venture into space.

On July 1st, SERA announced the offering of six seats aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard sub-orbital rocket to individuals globally. The mission will see selected astronauts embark on an 11-minute journey beyond the Kármán line, marking the internationally recognized boundary of space. During this brief yet exhilarating flight, astronauts will experience several minutes of weightlessness before a controlled descent back to Earth.

“We’re excited to include India in our human spaceflight program,” stated Joshua Skurla, co-founder of SERA, highlighting India’s recent milestones in space exploration, including the historic achievement of reaching the southern pole of the Moon. “Our goal is to make space accessible to everyone, and we’re delighted to offer this unique opportunity to an Indian citizen eager to witness the wonders of space travel firsthand.”

Registration for the program is open to all Indian citizens, who can apply by paying a nominal fee of approximately $2.50 to cover verification costs ensuring fair and safe voting. The final astronaut will be chosen through public voting, allowing the Indian public to select their representative for the New Shepard mission.

“Our mission is to democratize space by enabling citizens from over 150 countries with limited access to space to engage in groundbreaking research and contribute to space exploration,” Skurla added.

Candidates vying for a seat on New Shepard will need to meet the physical requirements set by Blue Origin. They can campaign for votes by sharing their stories through mission profile pages, social media, and other platforms. The voting process will unfold in three phases, with citizens voting for candidates from their respective nations or regions, except for the sixth global seat.

“By empowering communities to choose their astronauts, we ensure that this mission is driven by the people, for the people,” remarked Sam Hutchison, SERA co-founder. “This approach will ignite national dialogues on space and foster international collaboration in space exploration.”

The selected astronauts will undergo brief training at Blue Origin’s launch site in West Texas, USA, three days before the scheduled flight, underscoring SERA and Blue Origin’s commitment to inclusive and diverse participation in space exploration.

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