Tuesday saw the launch of the Blue Origin rocket, New Shepard, in Van Horn, Texas. This was the first crewed flight for the company as well as the first rocket carrying nothing but civilian astronauts to space; there were no pilots aboard the capsule. The flight makes history for carrying the oldest as well as the youngest persons into space. As a bonus, the flight coincided with the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The historic crew was led by Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. Joining him aboard was his younger brother, Mark Bezos, auction runner-up Oliver Daemon from the Netherlands and 1960s NASA trained astronaut Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk.
Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon and the richest man alive, with a net worth of $205 billion USD. Mark Bezos, the youngest Bezos sibling and Jeff’s best friend, has worked as a volunteer firefighter and sits on the council of the non-profit Robin Hood. At only 18, student Oliver Daemon is the youngest person to cross the threshold into space, buying the first commercial seat from Blue Origin. Wally Funk was part of the Mercury training program at NASA, but due to politics, the Women in Space program was shelved before any of the Mercury 13 women made it to space; her flight with Blue Origin finally sees her reaching her career goal at age 82.
Watch the Blue Origin Launch Broadcast
If you missed the live launch, you can catch the replay below. The stream is over two hours long, with coverage beginning at T-90 minutes. The entire flight, from liftoff to safe return, took approximately ten minutes.