Blue Origin's First Crewed Flight Breaks Records for Youngest, Oldest Astronauts

Blue Origin has successfully launched its New Shepard spacecraft, carrying the youngest and the oldest people to ever go into space.

82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk qualified to go into space in 1961 through the "Women in Space" Program, but it was cancelled before she had the chance to fulfil her dream.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who was also on the flight, had described Funk as an "honored guest."

18-year-old student Oliver Daemen, meanwhile, became the first paying customer to fly on board New Shepard, though Blue Origin is yet to reveal how much his seat on New Shepard cost.

Daemon is the son of Joes Daemen, the CEO and founder of Somerset Capital Partners, a hedge fund founded in 2009.

Prior to the Blue Origin mission, John Glenn had been the oldest person to fly to space, and Gherman Titov the youngest.

Glenn was 77 when he flew on Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-95 mission in 1998, while Titov's record had stood since 1961, when he entered space aboard Vostok 2 at the age of 26.

In total, there were four passengers on the Blue Origin flight, Bezos' younger brother Mark completing the crew.

New Shepard launched from Blue Origin's facility in West Texas shortly after 9:10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, July 20.

After separating from the booster, the capsule carrying the crew reached apogee at 351,210 feet, which is more than 66 miles above the surface of the Earth, comfortably above the Kármán Line, which has an altitude of 62 miles.

Approximately seven minutes and 20 seconds after liftoff, the booster returned to its landing pad, before the capsule made its descent at a speed of 16mph, its fall eased by three parachutes.

The capsule touched down approximately 10 minutes and 10 seconds after liftoff, kicking up a cloud of dust as it landed.

Though much of the crew's speech was heavily muffled, an excited Bezos could be heard hailing it as the "best day ever" after landing.

The vehicle was then grounded before the crew was allowed to safely disembark, amid jubilant scenes in the West Texas desert.

Bezos emerged first, wearing a cowboy hat, and all four crew members were mobbed by family, friends and colleagues, before the spraying of champagne.

"Congratulations to all of Team Blue past and present on reaching this historic moment in spaceflight history," Blue Origin announced after the conclusion of the mission.

"This first astronaut crew wrote themselves into the history books of space, opening the door through which many after will pass."

Oliver Daemen
A photo showing Oliver Daemen who flew aboard the New Shepard space vehicle with Jeff Bezos on July 20. Blue Origin