Blue Origin First Human Flight l0 New Shepard Rocket LaunchBlue Origin’s first human flight – New Shepard rocket launch July 20, 2021
Early on July 20, 2021, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket blasted off on its first-ever passenger flight. Ten minutes and 10 seconds later, Blue Origin’s flight landed safely. The capsule was fully automated – with no official staff on board. The passengers were free to enjoy every moment of their groundbreaking flight.

Achieving a milestone of this magnitude happens because Blue Origin and its suppliers are dedicated to overcoming every obstacle and challenge to achieve their mission. Many of their suppliers are family-owned companies located near Blue Origin in greater Seattle, Washington, like our fellow suppliers at Baker Manufacturing Inc. in Tacoma, Washington.

For Two Decades, Grandfather, Father, Son, and Daughter at Baker Manufacturing Contribute to the New Shepard Rocket

Tony Baker’s connection with the New Shepard rocket started 20 years before the historic 2021 launch. As he describes it, “My dad was friends with an engineer at Grace Community Church in Auburn who asked him to make a widget for a project he was working on. Turns out he was one of the first engineers on the New Shepard Blue Origin team. It was only 90 employees back then. Now its multiple facilities and over 4,000 folks all over the country. I wish my dad was still around to see the day. It was emotional for me for sure.”

Over the last two decades, Baker Manufacturing, Inc has made more than 1,000 parts for Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and New Glenn satellite launcher. The aluminum, titanium, and Inconel parts they make for the reusable rocket and satellite launcher are machined using Okuma Space Turn 4-axis and Okuma 5-axis horizontal CNC machines.

Baker Manufacturing Inc Team with Blue Origin First Tier Award BannerBaker Manufacturing Inc team with Blue Origin First Tier Supplier award banner

Baker Manufacturing, Inc Receives Top Tier Supplier Award from Blue Origin

Baker Manufacturing, Inc is Blue Origin’s longest-running supplier. That’s quite a testament to the entire team at Baker. Shortly after Blue Origin’s first human flight, they honored Baker Manufacturing, Inc as one of three Top Tier suppliers. The vice president and senior buyers of the New Shepard project visited Baker Manufacturing, Inc’s Tacoma, Washington facility to present the team with a First Tier banner to hang in the shop, a certificate, a mission patch, and a scale model of the rocket.

Blue Origin Honors Baker Mfg Tony Baker with a Scale Model of New Shepard Rocket 2021Blue Origin honors Baker Manufacturing with a scale model of the New Shepard rocket; Tony Baker receiving the award

Jet City Laser is Thrilled to be a part of the Blue Origin Supply Team

We have the honor of marking parts and engraving labels and nameplates for equipment used in many aerospace projects, including Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable rocket. We were thrilled to see Baker Manufacturing, Inc. recognized by Blue Origin for its contributions to New Shepard’s first human flight on July 20, 2021.

According to Jet City Laser’s founder, Jim Wright, “It’s thrilling to work with the amazing team at Baker Manufacturing, Inc. and contribute to groundbreaking projects like space tourism. Addressing the complexities of marking parts for New Shepard is particularly satisfying. We studied Baker Manufacturing, Inc’s detailed part drawings to determine how to best mark challenging surfaces while still meeting close time deadlines – sometimes very quick turn-around times – occasionally marking Baker Manufacturing, Inc’s parts while they got a cup of coffee or lunch. My hat’s off to our manufacturing team, especially our John Daniels, who worked directly with Dan Shelton of Baker Manufacturing, Inc.”

“We have contributed to Blue Origin’s projects since 2010, including through Baker Manufacturing, Inc since 2012. We started engraving parts for NASA’s Mars program in 2000. We appreciate Blue Origin’s “boost” to the local small business manufacturing base and their recognition of the suppliers that support their supply chain.”

John Daniels has engraved parts Baker Manufacturing, Inc made for Blue Origin’s space projects since 2018.

“At Jet City Laser, I’ve worked with unique and diverse partners in various industries around the globe. Space exploration projects are fascinating, especially those that make headlines, like the 2021 Mars Rover Perseverance project and Blue Origin’s first human launch into space. I’m inspired and proud knowing that I had a small part in something so groundbreaking. It’s almost hard to believe that non-astronauts have now been to space and back. One day soon, anyone could go to space.”

New Shepard’s Passengers

New Shepard’s fully-automated capsule was designed for passenger space travel. Only one of New Shepard’s first passengers trained as an astronaut – she completed her NASA training in 1961 but never flew on a NASA space mission.

Who were the passengers on New Shepard’s inaugural flight?

  • Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and Amazon
  • Mark Bezos, Jeff’s younger brother; a former advertising executive
  • Wally Funk, age 82, the oldest person to go into space and the oldest first-time astronaut. Ms. Funk qualified as a NASA astronaut in 1961 and continues to lead an eventful 60+ year career in aviation.
  • Dutch teen Oliver Daemen, age 18, the youngest person to go into space and the first to pay for a seat into outer space.
Blue Origin New Shepard First Human Flight l0 Crew Explorers Club FlagBlue Origin’s New Shepard rocket – first human-flight passengers with Explorers Club flag

The New Shepard Reusable Rocket

The New Shepard is a reusable, vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing suborbital launch vehicle designed to take people and payloads to space. It was named in honor of astronaut Alan Shepard who became the first American in space on May 5, 1961, in the Freedom 7.

The launch date was the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to set foot on the moon.

NASA Shepard Aboard the Lake Champlain with His Freedom 7 Capsule Behind HimAlan Shepard aboard the Lake Champlain with Freedom 7 capsule

We give our heartiest congratulations to the entire team at Baker Manufacturing, Inc. Their commitment to excellence helped Blue Origin turn the dream of citizen space travel into reality.

Need part marking? Whether your part will change the course of human history or is more down to earth, contact us to talk with a part marking specialist.