AIAA Statement on Blue Origin’s Successful New Shepard Mission Written 20 July 2021



Pictured: Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket launches carrying Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, 20 July 2021. | Credit: Tony Gutierrez; Associated Press–©

July 20, 2021 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) congratulates our corporate member Blue Origin on its successful first human flight of its New Shepard rocket today. AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher made the following statement:

“On behalf of the 30,000 professional and student members of AIAA, we are excited to congratulate Jeff Bezos and the Blue Origin team on their accomplishments today! The successful New Shepard Mission NS-16 builds upon today’s anniversary when we first touched the moon and accelerates us toward where we’re going next. Blue Origin is opening up access to space travel for more people. We believe this will help extend the human neighborhood beyond planet Earth.

We commend Blue Origin for turning this mission’s seat auction into inspiration. The AIAA Foundation is honored to be among the organizations chosen to receive $1 million each to inspire future generations to pursue STEM careers. We look forward to engaging students and educators with new, innovative, and creative STEM education opportunities, as well as expanding the robust K-12 and university programs we have enabled for the last 25 years. 

We are excited to build on our existing partnership with Blue Origin through our Design/Build/Launch (DBL) competition, giving high school students opportunities to develop and fly microgravity research payloads onboard future missions of New Shepard. We are proud of our recently announced 2021 DBL winners – Puneeth Bheesetty, Anna Porter Puckett, and Jaden Shawyer – from Granby High School, Norfolk, Virginia. They join our 2020 DBL winner, Eleanor Sigrest, who recently graduated as valedictorian of a dual program at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, and the Governor’s School at Innovation Park in Manassas, Virginia. We look forward to seeing their research payloads fly aboard New Shepard and hearing their results at an ASCEND event – a gathering of the global community focused on building humanity’s off-world future faster.

We recognize the countless aerospace industry professionals who are involved in making today’s mission a success. We salute and applaud the Blue Origin team for turning dreams into reality and helping shape the future of aerospace.”

AIAA Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804-397-5270 cell

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About AIAA
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn