The billionaire conga line to space continues as Jeff Bezos launches on Blue Origin along with his brother and the oldest and youngest people ever to fly to space. Broadcast begins at T-90.
The launch will take place on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Private sector investment has unleashed a torrent of innovation greatly advancing mankind’s quest for space.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft launches a capsule into space which returns via parachute while the rockets make a powered descent. This is similar to the method used by SpaceX. In contrast to Virgin Galactic uses a space plane which glides back to Earth.
A donor paid $28 million to take the flight, but then decided not to go. He will be replaced by Oliver Dames who will be the youngest person to fly in space.
Official Blue Origin live feed above. NASA Spaceflight feed (passionate aficionados) below:
From Blue Origin:
Blue Origin announced Oliver Daemen will be the first paying customer to fly on board New Shepard, marking the beginning of commercial operations for the program. He will join Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk aboard the first human flight on July 20. At 18-years-old and 82-years-young, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space.
Flying on New Shepard will fulfill a lifelong dream for Oliver, who has been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four. Oliver graduated from high school in 2020 and took a gap year before continuing his studies to obtain his private pilot’s license. This September, Oliver will attend the University of Utrecht to study physics and innovation management.
Wally’s journey to space began in the 1960s when she was the youngest graduate of the Woman in Space Program, a privately-funded project which tested female pilots for astronaut fitness. Later known as the “Mercury 13” – thirteen American women successfully underwent the same physiological and psychological screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury, but they never flew to space. Wally was the youngest graduate of this program.
Meet New Shepard
Named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space, New Shepard is our reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognized boundary of space. Whether you are an astronaut flying with Blue Origin or sending a payload to space, your 11-minute flight on New Shepard will be the experience of a lifetime.
Blue’s efforts to fly astronauts to space on New Shepard, produce reusable liquid rocket engines, create a highly-reusable orbital launch vehicle with New Glenn and return Americans to the surface of the Moon—this time to stay—will add new chapters to the history of spaceflight and move us closer to fulfilling that founding vision. Everything we do follows our motto “Gradatim Ferociter” or “Step by Step Ferociously”.
With room for six astronauts, the spacious and pressurized crew capsule is environmentally-controlled for comfort and every passenger gets their own window seat. The vehicle is fully autonomous. Every person onboard is a passenger—there are no pilots.
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July 19, 2021