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Blue Origin breaks 2-year hiatus, launches 6 passengers to edge of space

May 20

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Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket successfully launched six passengers to the edge of space on Sunday, May 19, marking the end of a nearly two-year hiatus triggered by a failed test flight. From West Texas, the launch carried venture capitalist Mason Angel and retired U.S. Air Force Captain Ed Dwight.

Former President John F. Kennedy selected Dwight in 1961 as the first Black astronaut candidate. During the NS-25 mission, he set a new record by becoming the oldest person to reach the edge of space at 90-years-old.

“I am ecstatic,” Dwight said upon landing. “I thought I really didn’t need this in my life, but now I need it in my life. My whole life has been about getting things done. This is the culmination.”

Captain Ed Dwight stands in front of the F-104 jet fighter, which he flies today seem mighty tame when he starts training in specially-equipped, high-performance jets that will soar to the edge of space.  (Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)
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Following a successful uncrewed science mission in December, this launch marked a significant recovery from a 2022 incident where a rocket failed during lift-off due to an engine nozzle issue. Blue Origin has since made design changes to the combustion chamber and nozzle.

Before the 2022 setback, Blue Origin had achieved 22 successful missions, carrying notable passengers like Jeff Bezos and William Shatner. Shatner had held the title for oldest person in space, but lost the record to Dwight who is two months older.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

BLUE ORIGIN’S NEW SHEPARD ROCKET SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED SIX PASSENGERS TO THE EDGE OF SPACE ON SUNDAY, MARKING THE END OF A NEARLY TWO-YEAR HIATUS TRIGGERED BY A FAILED TEST FLIGHT.

LAUNCHING FROM WEST TEXAS, PASSENGERS INCLUDED RETIRED US AIR FORCE CAPTAIN ED DWIGHT.

IN 1961 — PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY SELECTED DWIGHT AS THE FIRST BLACK ASTRONAUT CANDIDATE — BUT HE NEVER WENT UP IN A ROCKET BEFORE NOW.

AT AGE 90 AND EIGHT MONTHS — DWIGHT SET A NEW RECORD BY BECOMING THE OLDEST PERSON IN SPACE —

the record previously held by actor william shatner.

JEFF BEZO’S COMPANY SAYING IT HAS MADE DESIGN CHANGES SINCE THE UNCREWED ROCKET FAILURE IN 20-22.

BEFORE THE PAUSE — BLUE ORIGIN SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED 22 MISSIONS  — SIX of those WITH PASSENGERS on board.