It’s a mission accomplished for Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin, the Amazon founder’s space travel company that transported the oldest, youngest, and wealthiest humans to ever fly into space.
Blue Origin’s fully automated New Shepard rocket took off from West Texas on Tuesday with Bezos, the richest person in the world; his brother Mark Bezos; aerospace pioneer Wally Funk, 82; and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands.
“You have a very happy crew here, I want you to know that,” a man’s voice could be heard as the rocket flew up amid a chorus of thrilling shouts of “woo hoo”.
The four passengers had three to four minutes to unbuckle their seat belts and float around the capsule once they approached the edge of space.
The thruster was the first to return to earth, completing a vertical landing on the launch pad approximately seven minutes after takeoff. The crew and New Shepard landed smoothly, slowed down by parachutes, minutes later.
The launch marked the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It comes just days after billionaire businessman Richard Branson soared on July 11 to the edge of space at an altitude of about 50 miles, before coming back to earth. New Shepard aims to reach an altitude of about 66 miles.
Daemen is Blue Origin’s first paying customer. Funk finally gets his trip six decades after training with 12 other female pilots, known as the Mercury 13, for such a ride in the early 1960s. Funk takes the title of oldest person to fly in the world. late space astronaut John Glenn, who last flew into space at the age of 77.
Tuesday’s launch is Blue Origin’s first to feature people on board. The company has been testing its rocket since 2012 and claims to have carried out 15 consecutive successful launches, including three successful escape tests.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.
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