Jeff Bezos and Crew Land Safely After 10-Minute Trip to Space
Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos landed safely in the West Texas desert Tuesday morning after a successful 10-minute mission to space aboard his company Blue Origin's first human flight.
Bezos was joined by his brother Mark, 82-year-old Wally Funk, the oldest person in space, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemon, the youngest person in space and Blue Origin's first official customer.
The New Shepard rocket took off from Blue Origin's spaceport in West Texas at 9:12 a.m. ET. It reached a height of 351,210 feet (about 66.5 miles) and speeds of more than Mach 3 before floating back down to Earth.
"Blue Control, Bezos. Best. Day. Ever!" Bezos reported as his status check upon landing.
The entire mission lasted about 10 minutes and 20 seconds from takeoff to landing.
The rocket passed the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized line that demarcates space, and the astronauts spent about four minutes experiencing weightlessness. As the astronauts floated around the cabin and took in the views, audio of their excitement came back down to Earth.
"I was surprised by how easy zero-g was. It was natural," Bezos said as the rocket landed.
"Like swimming," Mark added.
After the booster detached, the capsule floated back down to Earth for about 90 seconds at a speed of about 15 miles per hour, with a combination of parachutes and jets for a soft touch-down.
After opening the rocket and hugging their friends and family, the crew popped bottles of champagne near the capsule.
"We're so grateful to everyone who made this possible," Bezos said as the capsule landed. New Shepard had undergone 15 successful test flights over the past few years before this first human launch.
Blue Origin will take off at least twice more this year, with more missions scheduled for 2022. Those interested in joining future missions are encouraged to contact the company for more information about tickets.
Earlier this month, Richard Branson became the first billionaire in space when his Virgin Galactic flight took off on a successful test flight. Blue Origin's journey differs slightly from Virgin Galactic's. It travels to an altitude of about 66 miles, about 10 miles higher than Virgin's flight path, and is completed on a fully automated capsule with no need for trained staff aboard. Virgin Galactic requires two pilots on each flight.