Blue Origin’s New Shepard remains go for launch this Tuesday, July 20, 2021 from Launch Site One in West Texas, with an historic payload – human beings.
This is the Kent-based company’s first launch to include live people: Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, 82-year-old ex astronaut Wally Funk and the youngest-ever, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. Daeman will be the first paying customer to fly on board New Shepard, marking the beginning of commercial operations for the program. The winner of Blue Origin’s auction – who has asked to remain anonymous at this time – has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts, and Daemen is a replacement for this historic launch.
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.
The live broadcast is set to start at 4:30 a.m. PDT, with liftoff targeted for 6:00 a.m. PDT. Live coverage can be seen online here:
WALLY FUNK HISTORY
Fulfilling a lifelong mission to become an astronaut, Wally Funk will also fly to space on New Shepard on Tuesday as an honored guest. She will join Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen on the flight.
Funk has 19,600 flying hours, has taught over 3,000 to fly, and was in NASA’s Apollo program:
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.
A recent briefing provided final details about Tuesday;s First Human Flight mission, including updates on vehicle readiness, flight and safety preparedness, and astronaut training.
Panel participants included Bob Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Steve Lanius, Lead Flight Director, Audrey Powers, Vice President, New Shepard Operations, Chris Jaeger, Chief Engineer, Ariane Cornell, Director of Astronaut Sales.