Jeff Bezos-promoted space company Blue Origin’s New Shepard is all set to fly the Amazon founder and three others to space on July 20. Bezos will be accompanied by his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student.
The launch will be broadcast live on BlueOrigin.com beginning at 6.30 am CDT / 11:30 UTC. The take-off is currently targeted for 8:00 am CDT / 13:00 UTC (6.30 p.m. in India on July 20).
The New Shepard, a six-seater
Let’s meet the passengers:
Jeff Bezos, 57, is a space entrepreneur who started Amazon in 1994 and Blue Origin in 2000. He stepped down as Amazon CEO on July 5, 2021, to focus on his other ventures including Blue Origin.
Mark Bezos, 53, is the co-founder of private equity firm HighPost Capital and is on the leadership council of non-profit entity Robin Hood (anti-poverty).
Funk, 82, was the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the first female flight instructor at a US military base, and the first female inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration.
In the 1960s, Funk was the best in a batch of 13 other women who joined the Mercury 13 programme — an unofficial and privately funded programme that gave women the same training as the male astronauts undergoing the official NASA programme.
Wally is poised to break the record of late Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who was 77 when he flew on his second mission on NASA's space shuttle Discovery in 1998.
Oliver Daemen, 18, is the son of Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen. Oliver completed high school and took a break in 2020 to get his private pilot’s licence. He intends to study innovation management along with physics in the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) starting in September 2021. Oliver Daemen is a physics student, who claims to be fascinated by space, the moon, and rockets since he was four.