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A New Shepard capsule descending to Earth. Photo: Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin has selected 18-year-0ld Oliver Daemen to fly aboard the first crewed suborbital flight of its New Shepard space system on July 20.

Why it matters: This flight will represent the culmination of years of work for Blue Origin, which has the goal of helping to build a future in which millions of people live and work in space.

The intrigue: While Blue Origin is billing Daemen as the first paying customer to fly aboard New Shepard, he was not the winner of the auction staged for this seat.

  • The anonymous auction winner — who paid $28 million — has a scheduling conflict and plans to fly on a future flight, according to the company.
  • Blue Origin hasn't disclosed how much Daemen paid for the seat or how he was selected.
  • The crew for next week's launch is now set with Bezos and his brother Mark joined by Daemen and Wally Funk, a woman aviator who passed astronaut tests in the 1960s.

The big picture: Tuesday's flight will continue this summer of suborbital spaceflight.

  • Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson flew to the edge of space with his company on Sunday, beating Bezos to his flight by a little over a week.
  • It's not yet clear what the market for these suborbital flights will be in the future, but both companies are hoping to draw in customers now to expand their base.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 18, 2021 - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

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