FAA Decides Bezos, Branson and Shatner Are Astronauts After All

  • Everyone who exceeds 50 miles by Dec. 31 will receive commercial astronaut wing even if they were just passengers
  • Nobody after that will even if they pilot a ship
  • Agency reverses earlier decision to award wings only to those essential to flight operations/success
  • FAA says this is what was intended all along

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) – With the advent of the commercial space tourism era, starting in 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will now recognize individuals who reach space on its website instead of issuing Commercial Space Astronaut Wings. Any individual who is on an FAA-licensed or permitted launch and reaches 50 statute miles above the surface of the Earth will be listed on the site. 


William Shatner to Boldly Go Where No Star Trek Captain Has Gone Before on Blue Origin’s New Shepard

William Shatner with CrewMember 7 Sarah Knights (left), and Audrey Powers (right). (Credit: Blue Origin)

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — Today, Blue Origin announced actor William Shatner and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, will fly on board New Shepard NS-18. They will join crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries for the flight which lifts off from Launch Site One on October 12.  


Blue Origin Announces Two Passengers for Oct. 12; William Shatner Not Mentioned

Chris Boshuizen (left) and Glen de Vries (right). (Credit: Blue Origin)

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — Today, Blue Origin announced New Shepard’s 18th mission, NS-18, will lift off on Tuesday, October 12, carrying four astronauts to space and back, including Dr. Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, Vice-Chair, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Dassault Systèmes and co-founder, Medidata. The two other astronauts will be announced in the coming days.

[Editor’s Note: TMZ.com reported Star Trek actor William Shatner will be aboard the upcoming flight. There’s been no confirmation of that report.]

Live launch coverage begins on BlueOrigin.com at T-60 minutes. Liftoff is currently targeted for 8:30 am CDT/ 13:30 UTC from Launch Site One in West Texas. 


Estes Rockets Launches Blue Origin New Shepard Model Rocket

Video Caption: In 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. A decade later, Alan Shepard walked on the moon. He carved the frontiers of space exploration so that later we could pave the path. It’s with that legacy in mind that the New Shepard came to be.

Blue Origin recently launched the first crew of astronauts aboard the New Shepard rocket. The historic flight brought Wally Funk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and auction winner Oliver Daemen to the ranks of astronauts, and will continue to push the frontiers of manned spaceflight for years to come. Get your own New Shepard for that perfect desktop model or to experience the excitement of launching it for yourself.

Pre-orders open now: https://estesrockets.com/blue-origin-…

Available November 2021

Blue Origin Safely Launches Jeff Bezos, Wally Funk and 2 Others on New Shepard Suborbital Flight

VAN HORN, Texas (Blue Origin PR) — Blue Origin successfully completed New Shepard’s first human flight today with four private citizens onboard. The crew included Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen, who all officially became astronauts when they passed the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space.  


A Closer Look at Blue Origin’s First Crewed New Shepard Flight with Jeff Bezos & Friends

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Credits: Blue Origin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Tuesday morning, Jeff Bezos and his three companions — Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen — will be aboard the first crewed flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle. The flight will include the youngest (Daemen), oldest (Funk) and richest (Jeff Bezos) people ever to fly to space.


Blue Origin’s New Shepard Set to Fly with Jeff Bezos and Wally Funk on July 20

New Shepard launch (Credit: Blue Origin webcast)

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — New Shepard is go for launch. On July 20, Blue Origin will fly its 16th New Shepard flight to space, and its first with astronauts on board. The launch will be broadcast live on BlueOrigin.com beginning at 6:30 am CDT / 11:30 UTC. Liftoff is currently targeted for 8:00 am CDT / 13:00 UTC.

Following the launch, a live press conference with the astronauts will be broadcast on BlueOrigin.com

Blue Origin’s Launch Site One is in a remote location in the West Texas desert and there are no on-site public viewing areas in the vicinity of the launch site. The Texas Department of Transportation will be closing a portion of State Highway 54 adjacent to the launch site and will not allow spectators on the closed portion of the road during the launch. 

Follow @BlueOrigin on Twitter and sign up on BlueOrigin.com to stay up to date on all mission details. 

-Gradatim Ferociter 

Editor’s Note: The FAA also approved Blue Origin this week to carry passengers on New Shepard. So maybe we’ll finally find out who is paying $29.68 million ($28 million plus 5% fee) to fly above the Karman line (100 km/62.1 miles) with Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark and aviatrix Wally Funk.

117,000 People Tell Jeff Bezos: Don’t Come Back From Space

Jeff Bezos

Well, it’s official. Lots of people seem to really hate Jeff Bezos.

As of this writing, two online petitions on Change.org have garnered nearly 117,000 signatures urging that the Amazon founder not be allowed to return to Earth during his July 20 trip to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule. (The petitions are here and here.)

“Billionaire’s should not exist…on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there,” one petition says.

The other petition mentions Bezos’ eerie resemblance to Superman villain Lex Luthor and calls him “an evil overlord hellbent on global domination….This may be our last chance before they enable the 5G microchips and perform a mass takeover.”

Wow. So much at stake. And so little actual power. The cry of more than 100,000 merely shows their inability to really do anything but vent their anger.

This mass populist outrage will have no effect on actual events. Since New Shepard lacks the power to send Bezos into orbit, the odds of stranding the billionaire in space permanently are exactly zero. The vehicle will up and then come down, all in the space of 10 to 11 minutes. Bezos, his brother Mark, an anonymous bidder paying $29.68 million for a seat, and a fourth person yet to be revealed will be returning to Earth regardless of how many people sign the petition.

Bidding for Blue Origin Seat Reaches $4.8 Million; Live Auction Set for Saturday

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Credits: Blue Origin)

Bidding for a seat on Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle with Jeff Bezos ended on Thursday with the top bid at $4.8 million.

The auction, which began on May 5, will conclude on Saturday, June 12 with a live bidding session that will be streamed at www.blueorigin.com. The session will start at 1 p.m. EDT/17:00 UTC.

The winner will join Bezos and his brother Mark on New Shepard’s first crewed suborbital on July 20. They will fly on the 52nd anniversary of the first human landing on the moon by NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969.

The auction winner will undergo three days of training prior to the launch on the fourth day. The flight will take place at Blue Origin’s facility in west Texas.

Proceeds from the auction will go to Blue Origin’s education foundation, Club for the Future. The non-profit organization encourages students to pursue STEM careers and help plan for humanity’s future in space.

A Look Back at Space Tourism Version 1.0 as New Gaggle of Millionauts Prepares to Fly

The first space tourist, Dennis Tito, poses with Soyuz TM-32 crew mates Talgat Musabayev, and Yuri Baturin in 2001. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For eight years, they thundered aloft in cramped Russian spacecraft from a former Soviet spaceport in Kazakhstan, battling bureaucracy and gravity to blaze a trail across the heavens and redefine what it meant to be a space traveler. No longer would access to orbit be limited to highly trained astronauts chosen on merit and working on behalf of their nations; instead, space would be open to any sufficiently healthy people with enough money and moxie to qualify.


Blue Origin to Broadcast Live Auction for Seat on New Shepard Suborbital Flight

New Shepard launch (Credit: Blue Origin webcast)

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — Blue Origin will broadcast the live auction for the very first seat on New Shepard on Saturday, June 12th, BlueOrigin.com. The webcast will begin at 12:45 p.m. EDT/16:45 UTC.

After a month-long process with nearly 6,000 participants from 143 countries, the current high bid stands at $3.5 million.  

Anyone interested in bidding in the live auction must register by June 10th. Registration details can be found at BlueOrigin.com.  

The winning bidder will fly to space on New Shepard’s first human flight on July 20th and will join Blue Origin founder, Jeff Bezos, and his brother Mark (Instagram post here).  

The name of the auction winner will be released in the weeks following the auction’s conclusion.  

The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space.