Blue Origin broke multiple Guinness World Records with its first crewed spaceflight in July 2021. The historic event launched Blue Origin’s founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos and three other civilians: Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen on a suborbital flight aboard the company’s New Shepard rocket.
According to a statement from the Guinness World Records on Oct. 1, the Blue Origin flight set the following:
- Launching the oldest person to fly to space
- The first siblings in space at the same time
- The youngest person to go to space
- The first suborbital spacecraft to carry paying customers
New Shepard, Blue Origin’s fully reusable suborbital spacecraft (which is named after NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space), lifted off from the company’s Launch Site One, near Van Horn, Texas, on July 20 at 9:11 a.m. EDT (1311 GMT, 8:11 a.m. local time).
The flight, which lasted a little over 10 minutes total, took the four passengers past the Kármán Line — an internationally recognized boundary of space.
The oldest person to fly to space – 13 is a Lucky Number
Funk was one of the now-famous group of 13 women who completed astronaut medical training as NASA’s Mercury 7 completed their official training.
Often referred to as a member of the “Mercury 13”, this means she set a new record for the oldest person in space, breaking the record previously held by NASA astronaut John Glenn. He was 77 when he flew to space in October 1998 as part of NASA’s STS-95 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
The Blue Origin flight also marks Funk finally achieved her goal of flying to space for the first time. A pioneering aviator, Funk also holds other records, including:
- The first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board,
- The first female civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which is a United States Army base)
- The first female Federal Aviation Agency inspector
The youngest person to fly to space – Physics Student in space
The Blue Origin flight crew also included the youngest person to ever go to space, Oliver Daemen. Daemen, who was 18 at the time, is currently studying physics and innovation at the University of Utrecht.
Daemen was also the first paying customer to fly on a suborbital spacecraft. His ticket was paid for by his father, Joes Daemen, CEO of a Dutch private equity firm, Somerset Capital Partners.
Describing the experience as “life-changing,” Oliver Daemen took the place of an anonymous bidder who paid $28 million for the fourth seat, as he had a scheduling conflict. He was bumped up from second scheduled suborbital flight to become the first persons to fly into space, with the anonymous bidder set to be part of a future launch.
The first siblings to go to space – Brotherly Love as Shatner prepares to Go Boldly into Space
Jeff Bezos and his younger brother, Mark, flew on the suborbital spacecraft at the same time, setting the record for the first siblings to go to space together.
Blue Origin launched on October 13, 2021 for its second crewed suborbital flight and has named three of the four crewmembers:
- Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Earth observation company Planet Labs
- Glen de Vries, vice chair for life sciences and healthcare at French software company Dassault Systèmes
William Shatner aka Captain James Tiberius Kirk from the 1966 Star Trek Series, will be on the on this second flight, breaking the record yet again for the oldest person on record as Shatner is 90 years old.
Truly, Blue Origin is taking Space tourism where no one has gone before. Hopefully, they will win more than hearts and minds, but also future lucrative contracts to mine the moon and set up a space observatory, allowing us to go boldly where no man has gone before.
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