Lauren Sanchez plans to follow in the footsteps of her billionaire boyfriend, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, by taking a trip aboard the subsonic rocket ship built by Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin. And she plans to bring an all-female crew with her on the mission, which she hopes will happen in early 2024.
Sanchez discussed 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 – sparked a wave of tabloid stories in 2019. Two years later, Bezos took a ride on Blue Origin’s first manned space flight with Sanchez watching from the sidelines. Sanchez said Bezos will be “for all of us from the sidelines” when she takes her turn on the New Shepard spacecraft.
“As long as he wants to get on this flight, I’m going to have to hold him back,” she told the Journal.
Sanchez said her five classmates will be “women who are making a difference in the world and who have an impact and who have a message to send.” Their identities will not be revealed until closer to the launch date, the Journal reported.
“I’m really excited about it. And a little nervous,” Sanchez said of the planned flight. “I wanted to be in the rocket from the jump, so [Bezos] excited to do this with all these ladies. What he said the other day is funny: ‘Fly fast; take a chance.’ That’s their motto. It’s very exciting and very exciting, and he’s very excited that we’re putting this group together.”
Sanchez and her team will have to wait until the Federal Aviation Administration gives the all-clear for future New Shepards. The most recent mission, an unmanned research flight, ended last September when a flight anomaly occurred on the booster.
Blue Origin said that if there were people on board, they would have a rough but durable ride, thanks to the crew capsule’s rocket-powered escape system. Shepard’s new launches have been suspended until the post-mission investigation is complete. No information was released about the cause of the anomaly.
Other thoughts from the interview:
- Sanchez has started a new production company, called Adventure & Fellowship, which will develop documentaries and scripted projects. “It can be movies, commercials, documentaries,” she said. (“For adventure and companionship” it is said Bezos’s favorite toast.)
- This year she is set to release her first children’s book, “Flynn, the Fly Who Flew,” about a fly who takes a trip in a rocket ship. (For what it’s worth, the book still doesn’t show up in Amazon search.)
- Sanchez said she is getting a “master class” in management from Bezos: “Biggest pieces of advice? I run a lot of meetings and I speak first in a meeting, and he says, ‘No, no. You are the boss. You speak last. You let everyone else talk so they are not influenced by your opinion.’ Keep meetings under an hour if you can.”