Deep-Diving St. Mark’s Alumnus Reaches Outer Space

Vescovo predicts Blue Origin launches will open orbital flights to others

Victor Vescovo may be the first to have reached all of these extreme destinations: Mount Everest’s summit, the ocean’s bottom, and outer space.

On June 4, the Saint Mark’s School of Texas alumnus joined the fifth human spaceflight of Blue Origin, the aerospace company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

The 10-minute flight launched from Blue Origin’s launchpad in West Texas, and Vescovo returned “so happy that I’ve been able to experience space.”

He predicted the trip would benefit others in the long run.

“That really is the goal — to help fund reusable rockets, so it becomes as regular as air travel today,” he said. “It does appear, I think, to some people that it’s a bunch of well-off people going up for rides into space, but I do strongly believe that it’s similar to the early days of aviation when people paid money to go on barnstorming flights and that money allowed for the industry to get more experience and to develop and make aviation safer, more reliable, and cheaper, and I think the same thing is happening with space flight today.”

Vescovo, co-founder of the private equity firm Insight Equity, was one of six passengers, including NS-19 astronaut Evan Dick, Action Aviation chairman Hamish Harding, and Dream Variation Ventures co-founder Jaison Robinson. 

Former NASA test lead Katya Echazarreta became the first Mexican-born woman and youngest American woman to fly to space, and Victor Correa Hespanha was the second Brazilian.

Vescovo has also completed a feat known as the “Explorer’s Grand Slam,” which includes summiting the world’s seven summits and skiing to the North and South Poles. In 2020, he became the first person to repeatedly dive to the deepest point in the ocean, Challenger Deep (now 12 times). Vescovo, the first person to visit the deepest point in the world’s five oceans, also executed the deepest wreck dive in history. 

“(Space) just seemed like the logical thing given I’ve climbed mountains all over the world, skied to the poles, and been to the oceans,” Vescovo said. “I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut since the time I was probably 3 or 4 years old … so it’s always been with me, and I never was able to join the military to be an astronaut, which was my desire, because my eyes were so poor. I’m heavily nearsighted. So instead, I was able to fly privately, but I’ve always had that dream to be an astronaut and go into space.”

Harding dived the Challenger Deep with Vescovo in 2021 and was the one to inform Vescovo about the opportunity to be on the Blue Origin flight around mid-April. 

“Within almost 48 hours, I had gone from not even having the opportunity to being signed up on the launch,” Vescovo added.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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