- Blue Origin intends to take tourists through the so-called Karman line.
- The billionaire race for space is big business.
- The trip is the culmination of a 20-year journey for Bezos with his company, Blue Origin.
VAN HORN, Texas – Founder of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his crew on the Blue Origin rocket fulfilled dreams and made history on Tuesday, taking off from the West Texas desert, reaching space and returning to Earth in a smooth parachute landing a few minutes later.
“Happy happy happy!” Jeff Bezos said from space. “You have a very happy crew here! “
The New Shepard had floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the view, and the crew were treated to three or four minutes of weightlessness. The booster rocket landed smooth, landing vertically about seven minutes after takeoff. The capsule containing the astronauts landed with parachutes and an “air cushion” created by retro rockets just over 10 minutes after takeoff.
“Best day ever,” said Jeff Bezos after landing, greeted by a sea of Blue Origin employees and other enthusiastic people on the company’s campus.
Her brother Mark, a longtime advocate for women in space, was also on board. Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, and Oliver Daemen, the de facto winner of an auction for the fourth seat of the capsule. Funk, 82, is the oldest person in space ever. Daemen, 18, is the youngest. The exultant travelers stepped out of the capsule to receive hugs from family and friends.
“Congratulations to all of the Blue team past and present for reaching this historic moment in spaceflight history,” Blue Origin tweeted. “This first crew of astronauts has made their mark in the space history books, opening the door many will pass through after.”
Tuesday’s flight marked the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Bezos has launched a much faster trip to space in what the world’s richest man hopes will be a lucrative business. Blue Origin employs thousands of people across multiple states and campuses. Competitor Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has more than 800 employees. A ticket to space can cost $ 200,000 or more.
Bezos said Blue Origin is planning two more flights this year and sales of private seats on its flights are approaching $ 100 million.
Branson and his crew historically rushed to the edge of space last week. Bezos and his team said they raped him.
This is the 16th flight to New Shepard but the first to include people. Bezos and Blue Origin somewhat scorned Branson’s flight nine days ago, claiming that Virgin Galactic’s maximum altitude of 53.5 miles did not reach real space.
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NASA, the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and some astrophysicists consider that the border between atmosphere and space begins at 80 km. Thus, passengers on Virgin Galactic sightseeing trips, which can reach a maximum altitude of around 55 miles, will gain astronaut wings.
New Shepard flew about 66 miles high. It is beyond the so-called Karman Line, 100 kilometers above the Earth, recognized by most international aviation and aerospace federations as the threshold of space.
“Only 4% of the world recognizes a lower limit of 80 km or 50 miles as the start of space,” Blue Origin tweeted before the Branson flight. “New Shepard flies over both borders. One of the many advantages of flying with Blue Origin.”
Despite the competition, Blue Origin and Bezos posted a congratulatory message on social media after Branson landed. On Tuesday, Branson followed suit.
“Well done Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, Mark, Wally and Oliver. Awesome!” Branson said via Twitter after landing. “Good luck to the whole crew on my part and to the whole Virgin Galactic team.”
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Bezos, who stepped down as CEO of Amazon, has not forgotten how the trip was funded. He thanked “every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer. Because you paid for it all. “
Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., Noted on Twitter that Bezos had flown his rocket for “just over 10 minutes. economy that values the dignity of their work, not the multiplication of its wealth. “
New Shepard, a fully automated 60-foot rocket and capsule, is primarily designed for space tourism with automated flight systems, large windows, and a modern interior. After takeoff, the booster returns to the facility for a vertical landing while the capsule briefly floats in space, then lands near the launch site using parachutes.
Branson, 71, and a crew of two pilots and three mission specialists were transported to an altitude of over 8 miles by the VMS Eve aircraft, named after Branson’s mother. Live video showed the VSS Unity spacecraft freed from the mothership’s twin fuselages, using rocket power to fly to the somewhat contested edge of space.
Like Branson, Bezos, 57, gives his New Shepard vehicle the ultimate approval after becoming the first to fly there.
For Bezos, whose wealth has been estimated at $ 177 billion, this short trip was the culmination of a 20-year journey with his company, Blue Origin.
“My expectations were high and they were significantly exceeded,” Bezos said.
Mark Bezos, 53, is a contractor and volunteer firefighter with the Scarsdale Fire Department in Scarsdale, New York. Jeff Bezos has said he considers his brother to be his oldest and closest friend and the “funniest” person to ever reach space.
Daemen, a physics student from the Netherlands, was a finalist in an auction for the seat. The first place winner, who offered $ 28 million, opted to remain anonymous and pilot a future New Shepard mission instead. Daemen’s father, Joes, is the founder of Dutch hedge fund Somerset Capital Partners.
Funk was part of “Mercury 13”, a group of women who took unofficial, privately-funded astronaut training in the 1960s, but were not selected to fly NASA missions. Funk said after Bezos selected her for the flight that she didn’t believe she would ever make it into space. Finally, she is officially an astronaut.
“We had a great time, it was wonderful,” she said after the flight. “I want to go back – quickly!”
Bacon brought from Arlington, Virginia.