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

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
July 20, 2021
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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.  

Upon landing, the astronauts were greeted by their families and Blue Origin’s ground operations team for a celebration in the West Texas desert.  
A Historic Mission:  

  • Wally Funk, 82, became the oldest person to fly in space.  
  • Oliver Daemen, 18, was the first ever commercial astronaut to purchase a ticket and fly to space on a privately-funded and licensed space vehicle from a private launch site. He also became the youngest person to fly in space.  
  • New Shepard became the first commercial vehicle under a suborbital reusable launch vehicle license to fly paying customers, both payloads and astronauts, to space and back.  
  • Jeff and Mark Bezos became the first siblings to ever fly in space together.  

“Today was a monumental day for Blue Origin and human spaceflight,” said Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin. “I am so incredibly proud of Team Blue, their professionalism, and expertise in executing today’s flight. This was a big step forward for us and is only the beginning.”

Blue Origin expects to fly two more crewed flights this year, with  many more crewed flights planned for 2022.  

Key Mission Stats

Crew Capsule Apogee: 347,563 ft AGL/351,210 ft MSL (105 km AGL / 107 km MSL)
Booster Apogee: 347,188 ft AGL/350,835 ft MSL (105 km AGL/106 km MSL)
Elapsed Mission Time: 10m 10s
Max ascent Velocity: 2,233 mph (3,595 km/h or Mach 2.91)

12 responses to “Blue Origin Safely Launches Jeff Bezos, Wally Funk and 2 Others on New Shepard Suborbital Flight”

  1. Hemingway says:

    Branson and Bezos: Charter members of the “S_O_B Club”
    (Sub-Orbital Billionaires)

  2. Pete Zaitcev says:

    That’s how you do it. Kaman line – easy. Branson could do it too if he only used a safe, performant liquid fuel engine.

  3. ThomasLMatula says:

    Yes, it was a good launch. It was really great to see the New Shepard fly in person and actually feel the sonic boom.

    • Andrew Tubbiolo says:

      From the spectator POV which did you enjoy more?

      • ThomasLMatula says:

        Seeing it in person is best, you are always able to watch the video, but never really experience it unless in person, especially feeling the sonic booms and the roar of the engines.

        The view of the VG launch was better, they flew the WK2 over the crowd on the climb out and did the return approach along side the road before doing a 180 to line up on the runway. The rocket portion of the flight was very visible overhead. You could clearly see ShipshipTwo and the flame in my 10×50’s. The roar of the burn didn’t reach us until it was over. You also got a good shaking from the sonic boom on re-entry.

        Still the view from the road of Blue Origin, about 10 miles away, was a good one. You clearly saw the New Shepard rocketing into space, both the rocket and its flame, and the booster returning straight down. It was wonderful watching how fast it was climbing, like something out of a science fiction movie. The capsule was hard to see as the parachutes were near the hill on the horizon when they opened. There was a delay before hearing the engine roar and you really felt the sonic booms as it returned. A double one from the booster and a loud one from the capsule as it return. Again I used my 10X50’s.

        There were only a handful of vehicles, maybe 10, for the Blue Origin flight at the location as you had to do some research on Google Earth to pick out a good place since TX-54 was closed at the outskirts of Van Horn. The were well over 100 for the VG flight lining the road for a mile or so. The State Police were there as well.

        Both facilities need to think about creating areas for public viewing. It would not be very expensive, just an acre or so of gravel parking off the road at the appropriate distance. It would do a lot to build public interest.

        I have now seen humans fly into space from all four states they have flown from.
        FL – Space Shuttle 1995
        CA – SpaceshipOne June 2004
        NM – SpaceShipTwo May, July 2021
        TX – New Shepard, July 2021

        I also saw an Aerobee launch in 1983 and DC-X fly in 1995. Next is Starship. Lots of good viewing sites from South Padre Island for its orbital flight. The had a successful static fire on the first attempt with the latest upgraded version of the Raptors.

  4. Robert G. Oler says:

    well done

  5. Andrew Tubbiolo says:

    Congrats on success after all those years of hard work.

  6. Terry Rawnsley says:

    Just watched a real puff piece on Discovery produced by WAPO. They talked about New Glenn but has anyone seen or heard anything about a crew cabin for that vehicle? That kind of thing should take years to design and build and even SLS/Orion will fly before him, not to mention SpaceX. Seems like he’s driven the hype machine up to Sierra Nevada levels with nothing substantial coming down the pike anytime soon except a rocket-powered elevator.

  7. duheagle says:

    A modest proposal for Bezos and Blue: Put Wally Funk on the payroll as a spaceflight ambassador and have her fly again each year on her birthday to keep her “oldest person to fly in space” credential current.

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