Lauren Sanchez is planning to follow in the footsteps of her billionaire boyfriend, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, by taking a trip aboard the suborbital rocket ship built by Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture. And she plans to bring an all-female crew with her on the mission, which she hopes will take place by early 2024.
Sanchez discussed the space mission, her experience as a helicopter pilot and a 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 tabloid stories in 2019. Two years later, Bezos took a ride on Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight with Sanchez watching from the wings. Sanchez said Bezos will be “cheering us all on from the sidelines” when she takes her turn aboard the New Shepard spaceship.
“As much as he wants to go on this flight, I’m going to have to hold him back,” she told the Journal.
Sanchez said her five crewmates will be “women who are making a difference in the world and who are impactful and have a message to send.” Their identities won’t be revealed until closer to the launch date, the Journal reported.
“I’m super-excited about it. And a little nervous,” Sanchez said of the planned flight. “I’ve wanted to be in the rocket from the jump, so [Bezos] is excited to make this happen with all of these women. It’s funny what he said the other day: ‘Fly fast; take chances.’ That’s his motto. He’s very encouraging and excited, and he’s thrilled we’re putting this group together.”
Sanchez and her crewmates will have to wait until the Federal Aviation Administration gives the all-clear for future New Shepard launches. The most recent mission, an uncrewed research flight, ended in failure last September when the booster experienced an in-flight anomaly.
Blue Origin said that if people had been on board, they would have had a rough but survivable ride, thanks to the crew capsule’s rocket-powered escape system. New Shepard launches have been suspended until the post-mission investigation is complete. No information about the anomaly’s cause has been released.
Other tidbits from the interview:
- Sanchez has started up a new production company, called Adventure & Fellowship, that will develop documentaries and scripted projects. “They can be movies, commercials, documentaries,” she said. (“To adventure and fellowship” is said to be Bezos’ favorite toast.)
- This year she’s due to release her first children’s book, “Flynn, the Fly Who Flew,” about a fly that takes a ride in a rocket ship. (For what it’s worth, the book doesn’t yet show up in an Amazon search.)
- Sanchez said she’s getting a “master class” in management from Bezos: “Biggest pieces of advice? I hold a lot of meetings and I would talk first in a meeting, and he goes, ‘No, no, no. You’re the boss. You talk last. You let everyone else talk so that they don’t get swayed by your opinion.’ Keep meetings under an hour if you can.”