Jeff Bezos makes history with suborbital flight consisting of only civilians
Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon, can add astronaut to his illustrious resume, making history with his all-civilian suborbital flight.
Aboard a rocket and capsule developed by Blue Origin- his private spaceflight company- Bezos successfully flew to the edge of space on Tuesday. The 57-year-old founder of Amazon made history being part of the first unpiloted suborbital flight with a crew consisting only of civilian members. This also marks the first crewed launch for Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
The rocket launched at around 9:11 a.m. ET from the west Texas desert located southeast of El Paso. Subsequently, the aircraft approached speeds three times that of the speed of sound. The capsule then separated at 250,000 feet guiding Bezos and his crew to the edge of space. Following which the craft then descended and landed again in the Texas desert; the flight duration was around 10 minutes.
“Best day ever,” Bezos radioed to mission controllers after touching down.
Being a suborbital trip, the crew didn’t orbit around the Earth but managed to reach the edge of space, more than 65 miles upwards. The passengers got to experience four minutes of weightlessness.
This venture of Blue Origin came merely nine days after British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson- aboard a rocket-powered vehicle that was designed by Virgin Galactic, his own space tourism company- took a trip to the edge of space. These flights have garnered great interest and global chatter, creating discord and excitement for the space tourism industry.
Bezos was accompanied by his brother, Mark, and Wally Funk, 82, a former test pilot. Funk was part of the Mercury 13 women who were trained in the 1960s as a demonstration that women could qualify for NASA’s astronaut legion. The success of this flight makes Funk the oldest person to make a trip to space.
The final member of the four-person crew was the 19-year-old Oliver Daemen, hailing from the Netherlands, and becoming the youngest astronaut in human history to date.
“I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like. People who go into space say that they come back changed,” he told “TODAY” co-host Hoda Kotb. “I can’t wait to see what it’s going to do to me.”
— Morgan Chesky (@BreakingChesky) July 20, 2021