Blue Origin NS-16
Mission typeCrewed sub-orbital spaceflight
OperatorBlue Origin
Mission duration10 minutes, 10 seconds
Apogee107 km (66 mi)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftRSS First Step
ManufacturerBlue Origin
Crew size4
Start of mission
Launch date20 July 2021, 13:11 UTC
RocketNew Shepard (NS4)
Launch siteCorn Ranch, LS-1
ContractorBlue Origin
End of mission
Landing date20 July 2021, 13:21 UTC
Landing siteCorn Ranch
A ground-level view looking up towards a launch vehicle landing
Blue Origin NS-16 mission patch  

Blue Origin NS-16 was a sub-orbital spaceflight mission operated by Blue Origin which flew on 20 July 2021.[1] The mission was the sixteenth flight of the company's New Shepard integrated launch vehicle and spacecraft, and its first crewed flight. It carried into space American billionaire and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, pilot and Mercury 13 member Wally Funk, and Dutch student Oliver Daemen. The flight commenced from Blue Origin's Corn Ranch sub-orbital launch site in West Texas aboard the third flight of New Shepard booster NS4 and the spacecraft RSS First Step, both having previously flown on NS-14 and NS-15 earlier in the year.[2][3][4]

Blue Origin NS-16 was the first human spaceflight from the U.S. state of Texas. Daemen, aged 18, and Funk, aged 82, became the youngest and oldest people to travel to space, respectively, until William Shatner took the record of oldest in space at age 90 on NS-18.[2][5] The flight was approximately 10 minutes, and crossed the Kármán Line. The mission became the first fully automated flight with civilian passengers,[6] as well as the first multi-person, internationally-recognized sub-orbital spaceflight.


Four crewmembers flew on Blue Origin NS-16.[2][7] Originally, the anonymous winner (later revealed as Justin Sun[8]) of a US$28 million auction held by Blue Origin in support of its Club for the Future program was to be the fourth crewmember on RSS First Step.[7][9] However, the anonymous winner had unspecified scheduling conflicts and was re-manifested for a future New Shepard flight; Oliver Daemen took the vacated position.[10][11] Oliver's father Joes Daemen, the CEO of private equity firm Somerset Capital Partners, paid for the fourth seat; Joes had come second in the auction for the seat, so after the auction winner (Justin Sun) did not take the seat, it was passed onto Joes, who paid for the seat and gave it to Oliver.[12][13]

Prime crew
Position Crew
Tourist United States Jeff Bezos
First spaceflight
Tourist United States Mark Bezos
First spaceflight
Tourist United States Wally Funk
First spaceflight
Tourist Netherlands Oliver Daemen[14]
First spaceflight


  1. ^ "Blue Origin successfully sends Jeff Bezos and three others to space and back". The Verge. 20 July 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Foust, Jeff (20 July 2021). "Blue Origin launches Bezos on first crewed New Shepard flight". SpaceNews. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  3. ^ Burghardt, Thomas (14 January 2021). "Blue Origin tests New Shepard capsule upgrades on NS-14 mission". Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  4. ^ Smith, Marcia (14 April 2021). "Dress Rehearsal Puts Blue Origin Closer to Human Spaceflight". Space Policy Online. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  5. ^ Etherington, Darrell (15 July 2021). "Blue Origin's final passenger for its first human spaceflight will be 18-year-old Oliver Daemen". TechCrunch. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  6. ^ Howell, Elizabeth (18 July 2021). "Blue Origin launch will be the 1st fully automated flight with civilian astronauts: report". Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b Bartels, Meghan (1 July 2021). "Blue Origin will fly female aviator Wally Funk, one of the Mercury 13, on 1st crewed launch". Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Crypto entrepreneur to go to space on New Shepard". 23 December 2021.
  9. ^ Sheetz, Michael (12 June 2021). "Blue Origin auctions seat on first spaceflight with Jeff Bezos for $28 million". CNBC. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  10. ^ Roulette, Joey (15 July 2021). "Blue Origin picks teen to fly to space after anonymous auction winner reschedules". The Verge. Archived from the original on 15 July 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021. Daemen's seat had been reserved for the winner of a $28 million auction that closed last month, but that winner remains anonymous and "has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts", a news release said.
  11. ^ Sheetz, Michael (15 July 2021). "Blue Origin reveals 18-year-old physics student will fly with Jeff Bezos to space next week". CNBC. Archived from the original on 15 July 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021. The young physics student takes the place of the auction winner, who Blue Origin said could not fly on the mission "due to scheduling conflicts". Blue Origin said the auction winner "has chosen to fly on a future New Shepard mission".
  12. ^ "Meet Oliver Daemen, the Dutch teenager who will fly to space with Jeff Bezos after his hedge fund dad paid millions for the ticket". Business Insider. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  13. ^ Todisco, Eric (20 July 2021). "Oliver Daemen: 5 Things To Know About The 18-Year-Old Who Went To Space With Jeff Bezos". Hollywood Life. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  14. ^ Nederlander Oliver (18) mag met rijkste man Bezos mee op ruimtevlucht, wordt jongste astronaut ooit