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18-Year-Old To Become Youngest Person In Space Alongside Jeff Bezos On Blue Origin Trip 

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, has announced its first paying customer. Oliver Daemen is an 18-year-old Dutch teenager who is about to be the youngest person to ever travel to space. 

Daemen will be joining Jeff and his brother Mark Bezos, as well as pilot Wally Funk on July 20th.

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Funk will also be breaking the record for oldest individual to go to space at 82-years-old. Funk is famous for being a member of Mercury 13, a group of all female pilots who, in the 1960’s, underwent testing to determine whether women could handle space travel or not. Even though the group of women performed just as well as NASA’s Mercury 7, the male counterpart to Mercury 13, they were rejected for being women. 

Funk is breaking the age record previously set by astronaut and senator John Glenn who traveled to space in 1998 at the age of 77. Daemen will be breaking the record previously set by Ghermon Titov, who was just 25 when he went into space for a four month mission. 

The Federal Aviation Administration approved of the Blue Origin launch this Monday, just one say after billionaire Richard Branson flew to the edge of space aboard his rocket-powered vehicle developed by Virgin Galactic. 

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Virgin Galactic, like Blue Origin, plans to start flying paying customers up to the edge of space. Daemen was able to secure his spot on Blue Origin after the individual who won an auction for a seat on the rocket had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts. The original individual paid $28 million for the oppurtunity. 

“We thank the auction winner for their generous support of Club for the Future and are honored to welcome Oliver to fly with us on New Shepard. This marks the beginning of commercial operations for New Shepard, and Oliver represents a new generation of people who will help us build a road to space,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said.

“I am super excited to be going to space and joining Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk on the first Blue Origin crewed flight.”

A Blue origin spokesperson told the media that Daemen “was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight. We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available,” the spokesperson said.

NASA SpaceX Launch

US Space Force Launches Satellite That Can Detect Missiles

The US Space Force launched a billion-dollar missile-detection satellite into orbit this week. After a minor 24-hour delay due to faulty temperature checks, the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 1:37 p.m. E.T. on Tuesday. 

The rocket is equipped with two small rideshare payloads as well as a Russian-build RD-180 main engine and strap-on solid-fuel boosters.  

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“Separation confirmed! The United Launch Alliance #AtlasV rocket has deployed the fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (#SBIRSGEO5) satellite to save lives through early warning missile detection,” ULA announced in a tweet.

“Thank you to our mission partners for the tremendous teamwork as we processed and launched this asset that provides powerful surveillance and critical capabilities to protect our warfighters. We are proud to work with the U.S. Space Force to continue to meet the national security needs of our country,” ULA Vice President of Government and Commercial Programs Gary Wentz said in a statement.

The launch took approximately 10-and-a-half minutes, and marked the fifth launch in a series of space-based infrared system satellite meant to replace the US’s current Defense Support Program constellation of surveillance satellites. 

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This also marked the 87th launch of the 194-foot-tall Atlas 5 rocket and the 72ns Atlas 5 to launch from Space Launch Complex-41 specifically. Space News reported Tuesday that “the spacecraft’s ‘Technology Demonstration Orbiter’ payloads – TDO-3 and TDO-4 – were successfully deployed and released from the 950,000-pound rocket’s Centaur upper stage around 16 and a half minutes after liftoff.”

“Nearly 43 minutes after liftoff, the satellite separated and deployed as well to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. A geosynchronous orbit is a high Earth orbit that allows satellites to match the rotation of the Earth,” according to Space.com.

According to the Associated Press, “Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.86 billion contract for the newly improved satellite in addition to one slated to launch in 2022.” The satellites work by using infrared payloads to detect heat signatures from missile exhaust, all around the world. The first satellites of their kind were launched back in 2011, and the next launch is set to occur on June 23rd this year.