Pete Davidson won’t make it space next week after all.
The actor and “Saturday Night Live” star was scheduled to launch on March 23 aboard New Shepard, a suborbital rocket built by Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin. But Blue Origin has delayed the launch, which will carry five other passengers, to March 29 and Davidson can no longer make the flight.
“Pete Davidson is no longer able to join the NS-20 crew on this mission,” Blue Origin wrote in a statement late Thursday (March 17). “We will announce the sixth crew member in the coming days.” Blue Origin did not state the cause of the New Shepard’s launch delay.
In photos: Blue Origin’s 1st New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos
Davidson was one of six passengers to launch on Blue Origin’s NS-20 mission, the fourth crewed space tourism flight by the company. He was to launch with businessman and investor Marty Allen; philanthropists Sharon Hagle and Marc Hagle, who are married; entrepreneur and teacher Jim Kitchen; and George Nield, the president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC, and former associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
All five of those passengers will still launch with Blue Origin. But with Davidson now unavailable, who their sixth crewmember will be remains to be seen.
Blue Origin has launched a series of celebrities and high-profile passengers for free alongside paying passengers who bought tickets to ride on the New Shepard rocket.
Jeff Bezos himself was the first passenger to ride New Shepard last July. He launched with his brother Mark Bezos, guest and aviation pioneer Wally Funk and a paying passenger. Blue Origin then launched “Star Trek” actor William Shatner and NFL star Michael Strahan on subsequent flights last year. Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of famed NASA Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, joined Strahan on his flight as a guest in December.
Blue Origin has not revealed how much a trip on New Shepard costs, although the company’s main space tourism competitor is Virgin Galactic, which charges $450,000 per seat for rides on its VSS Unity space plane. Virgin Galactic expects to begin passenger flights this year after launching a crewed flight with billionaire Sir Richard Branson aboard last summer.
The New Shepard launch system features a reusable rocket booster and crew capsule. The company launches crewed and uncrewed flights from a site in West Texas near Van Horn. The New Shepard rocket launches its crew capsule up to an altitude above 62 miles (100 kilometers), with passengers experiencing several minutes of weightlessness and seeing sweeping views of Earth from space.
The crew capsule returns to Earth to make a parachute landing while the New Shepard booster makes a vertical landing using its rocket engine. NS-20 will be Blue Origin’s 20th mission overall with its New Shepard system.