Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, soared about 66.5 miles (107 km) above the Texas desert aboard his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle on Tuesday (July 20) and returned safely to Earth, a historic suborbital flight that helps to inaugurate a new era of private commercial space tourism.
“Best day ever,” Bezos said after the space capsule touched down, kicking up a cloud of dust on the desert floor.
“Astronaut Bezos in my seat – happy, happy, happy,” Bezos said in response to a mission control status check after the crew members buckled back in aboard New Shepard’s capsule following a few minutes of weightlessness in space.
The 57-year-old American billionaire was joined by three crewmates for a trip to the edge of space lasting about 10 minutes and 20 seconds.
Bezos, founder of ecommerce company Amazon.com Inc, and his brother Mark Bezos, a private equity executive, were joined by two others.
Pioneering female aviator Wally Funk, and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen, 18, become the oldest and youngest people to reach space.
The fully autonomous 60-foot-tall (18.3-meters-tall) gleaming white spacecraft, with a blue feather design on its side, ignited its BE-3 engines for a liftoff from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One facility about 20 miles (32 km) outside the rural town of Van Horn. There were generally clear skies with a few patchy clouds on a cool morning for the launch.
(Production: Marissa Davison)