Lauren Sanchez will lead the female crew of the Blue Origin spacecraft

Lauren Sanchez will lead the female crew of the Blue Origin spacecraft

Lauren Sanchez, in the white dress, is flanked by Blue Origin staff as she tours the West Texas landing pad after her boyfriend Jeff Bezos’ flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spacecraft in July 2021. ( GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Lauren Sanchez plans to follow in the footsteps of her billionaire boyfriend, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, by taking a trip aboard the suborbital rocket built by Bezos’ space company Blue Origin. And she plans to bring an all-female crew with her on the mission, which she expects to take place in early 2024.

Sánchez spoke about the space mission, her experience as a helicopter pilot and media producer, and her relationship with Bezos, in a wide-ranging interview published today by The Wall Street Journal.

The relationship between Sanchez and Bezos, and Bezos’ divorce from his wife MacKenzie Scott, fueled a wave of sensationalist stories in 2019. Two years later, Bezos rode on Blue Origin’s first manned spaceflight with Sanchez watching from the wings. Sanchez said Bezos will “be cheering on all of us from the sidelines” when he takes his turn aboard the New Shepard spacecraft.

“As much as I want to get on this flight, I’m going to have to hold it,” he told the Journal.

Sanchez said her five crewmates will be “women who are making a difference in the world and who have an impact and have a message to send.” Her identities will not be revealed until closer to the release date, the Journal reported.

“I’m super excited about it. And a little nervous,” Sánchez said of the planned flight. “I’ve wanted to be on the rocket since the jump, so [Bezos] he’s excited to make this happen with all of these women. It’s funny what he said the other day: ‘Fly fast; take chances.’ That is his motto. He is very encouraging and excited, and he is delighted that we are bringing this group together.”

Sanchez and his crewmates will have to wait until the Federal Aviation Administration gives the go-ahead for future New Shepard launches. The most recent mission, an uncrewed research flight, failed last September when the booster experienced an in-flight anomaly.

Blue Origin said that if the people had been on board, they would have had a difficult journey but survived, thanks to the crew capsule’s rocket-propelled exhaust system. New Shepard launches have been put on hold until post-mission investigation is complete. No information has been released about the cause of the anomaly.

Other information from the interview:

  • Sánchez has launched a new production company, called Adventure & Fellowship, which will develop documentaries and scripted projects. “It can be movies, commercials, documentaries,” she said. (“To adventure and fellowship” is said to be Bezos’ favorite toast.)
  • This year he plans to publish his first children’s book, “Flynn the Fly That Flew,” about a fly that travels in a space rocket. (For what it’s worth, the book still doesn’t show up in an Amazon search.)
  • Sánchez said he is receiving a “master class” in management from Bezos: “Biggest piece of advice? I do a lot of meetings and I would speak first in a meeting, and he goes, ‘No, no, no. You are the boss. You speak last. You let everyone else speak so they won’t be swayed by your opinion. Keep meetings under an hour if you can.”

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