Ed Dwight Reaches for the Stars on Blue Origin’s Return Flight

Turning back the clock nearly a century to the days of human spaceflight’s early triumphs, a crew of six rocketed to space aboard the New Shepard from Blue Origin on Sunday, May 19. Leading the way was veteran Ed Dwight (90), who became the oldest person to ever reach space.

Designated NS-25, it was Blue Origin’s seventh human spaceflight, in which its space tourism program was grounded by a malfunction in September 2022. This launch and return was a stress test for Blue Origin, the outcome of which remains to be seen.

The presence of Dwight on the flight was inherently historic: in 1961, President John F Kennedy had chosen him to attend Aerospace Research Pilot School, which historically had been a training ground for the US astronaut corps. Though Dwight had completed training and the Air Force had recommended him for the astronaut corps, he was not picked for the program in the time between Kennedy’s assassination and its announcement.

But, despite this, the idea of going to space never left him. More than six decades later, his dream finally came true. When he landed, Dwight stepped out of the capsule jubilantly shouting: ‘Long time coming!’ He said the experience was ‘life-changing’ and ‘everybody needs to do this’.

Screened by New Shepard’s crew capsule, the rocket carried them more than three times ‘the speed of sound’ and broke through what has long been regarded as the border of space, the Kármán Line, 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth. The capsule transported its passengers, and citizens of the planet, into weightlessness where they were gifted with panoramic views of Earth through small windows.


And that first voyage was a genuinely historic flight for Blue Origin – as well as for a space pioneer called Ed Dwight. Dwight’s had been a long road to space, but perseverance is always rewarded. There’s something valuable in holding on to a dream, no matter how long it takes to come true.