Blue Origin’s second human spaceflight will have a space industry veteran and sector-focused investor on board when it takes off: Dr. Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet Labs and current partner at venture capital firm DCVC. Boshuizen will occupy one of four seats on Blue Origin’s next trip of its New Shepard fully reusable suborbital spacecraft with people on board, following its debut journey earlier this year with Jeff Bezos.
Update: Blue Origin also announced that Glen de Vries, co-founder of the clinical trial software company Medidata Solutions will also be on the flight. He’s also the vice chair of life sciences and healthcare at Dassault Systèmes, a French software company that acquired Medidata in 2019.
Boshuizen has his PhD in physics from the University of Sydney, and was a NASA space mission architect at the Ames Research Center in California for four years before going on to found Planet Labs and serve as its CTO during its first five years of operation. He originally joined DCVC as an entrepreneur in residence, before becoming an operation partner and then a full-time partner earlier this year.
While he’s spent his entire career in the space industry, Boshuizen says that his ambitions to actually go to space started earlier still: He applied for pilot school in the Australian Defense Force Academy when he was just 17 but tested as partially color blind so he was disqualified from continuing.
The current smallsat and CubeSat boom actually owes a lot to Boshuizen, too: When he was working at NASA, he helped invent the “Phonesat,” which was an orbital satellite effectively built from a modified smartphone. The primary reason micro satellite constellations exist today in such high numbers is that the miniaturization of high-tech components spurred by the rise of the smartphone made small, powerful satellites that are relatively affordable to build and launch possible.
The flight is scheduled to take off on Tuesday, October 12, at 9:30 AM EST from Blue Origin’s sprawling Launch Site One just outside of Van Horn, Texas. The company has not released details regarding the identities of the remaining two crew members.
The story was updated with details about the mission and its crew.