Blue Origin’s first space flight launching Tuesday

Jul 19, 2021

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More than two decades after founding his own space company Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos will officially launch into his next adventure post-Amazon, as he travels to space Tuesday aboard the New Shepard rocket.

“For New Shepard, we’ve been following an aggressive step-by-step approach from the beginning,” Gary Lai, senior director at New Shepard Design, said in a video on Twitter. The first version, M1, flew in April 2015. As TPG previously reported, New Shepard will carry passengers and crew 62 miles above the earth into suborbital space.

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In June, Blue Origin announced that the richest person in the world and former CEO of Amazon would soon be among just a few billionaires to reach space (Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, was on a Virgin Galactic flight earlier this month and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has a down payment for an upcoming trip), the Washington Post first reported.

 

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Read more: Here’s your chance to bid for a seat on Blue Origin’s first space flight with passengers in July

Accompanying Bezos will be his younger brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daeman and 82-year-old Wally Funk, known for being the first female Federal Aviation Administration inspector and first female National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator. The two are also the youngest and oldest astronauts respectively to ever travel to space. Daeman is replacing an anonymous winner of an online auction who paid $28 million for the very first seat on New Shepard’s first human flight on July 20, and who the company said dropped out due to scheduling issues.

“We thank the auction winner for their generous support of Club for the Future and are honored to welcome Oliver to fly with us on New Shepard,” Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, said in a statement. “This marks the beginning of commercial operations for New Shepard, and Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a road to space.”

Blue Origin said that the money will be donated to the company’s foundation, Club for the Future, which will give $1 million each to 19 different nonprofits for efforts supporting “living and working in space.”

Daeman, the Dutch teen who is the first paying customer on New Shepard, recalled his first memories of space and rockets while watching “Thunderbirds,” a British sci-fi series.

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Read more: Richard Branson goes to space: Virgin Galactic’s ‘Unity’ lands safely in New Mexico

“I feel a responsibility because I’m the youngest in space and to get more young people interested in space,” Daeman said on Instagram. “And not even just space by science, it’s such an opportunity for me to do … When I touch down, I think I’ll be just speechless.”

The launch of New Shepard will be broadcast live on BlueOrigin.com starting at 6:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, July 20, with liftoff at 8 a.m. from Van Horn, Texas.

Featured photo of Blue Origin in Van Horn, Texas, by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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