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SERA, Blue Origin join hands to send ordinary citizens on space mission

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NEW DELHI, April 23: US-based Space Exploration and Research Agency (SERA) on Tuesday announced a partnership with Blue Origin to develop a human spaceflight programme for citizens of nations historically lacked access to space.

The programme, which seeks to provide the opportunity for common citizens from around the world to become astronauts, will have its inaugural flight on a future New Shepard mission, Blue Origin’s space tourism initiative.

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All six seats on the flight have been reserved for the partnership with SERA.

“Nearly 150 countries have never had an astronaut. We created this programme to change this,” said Joshua Skurla, Co-founder of SERA.

Skurla said Brazilian civil engineer Victor Hespanha, who was selected at random from the SERA community, became the second Brazilian national to travel to space in 2022 onboard Blue Origin’s fifth crewed flight.

“Victor’s flight showed us how one person can inspire and excite an entire nation about the potential of space and we want to repeat that on a much larger scale,” Skurla said.

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“Our future life in space must reflect the rich diversity here on Earth,” said Phil Joyce, Senior Vice President, New Shepard Business Unit, Blue Origin, which is promoted by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

In line with the mission’s objective to make space more accessible, five of the seats will be allocated to five partner nations who have either never had an astronaut or very few, while the sixth seat will be open to a person from any nation.

SERA is collaborating with national space agencies and regional research institutions to support the mission and develop the science experiment payloads onboard the flight.

Both the final astronaut selection and science experiments will be determined by the community. Partner nations will be announced over the coming months.

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SERA said its mission was to create a space agency for everyone and accelerate global participation in the space sector.

“Despite the trillions spent by governments, there have usually been only a handful of people in space at any given time over the last three decades,” said Sam Hutchison, Co-founder of SERA.

“The unimaginably rich material and energy resources of the solar system remain entirely untapped. With launch costs coming down, this is all about to change, and SERA wants to make sure that everyone on Earth has the chance to participate in the growth of the offworld economy,” Hutchison said. (PTI)





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