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Home » Blue Origin successfully sends Jeff Bezos and three others to space and back

Blue Origin successfully sends Jeff Bezos and three others to space and back

Blue Origin successfully sends Jeff Bezos and three others to space and back

Jeff Bezos was launched into space on Tuesday morning with three other passengers and landed safely in a Texas desert aboard his space company’s crew capsule. The NS-16 mission marked the first Blue Origin to transport people and initiated commercial service for the company’s space tourism business. Bezos, the richest man in the world who founded Blue Origin in 2000, has sent a signal to potential space tourists that the company’s New Shepard suborbital rocket is safe to fly and open for business.

He was joined by three others – his brother Mark Bezos, aviation pioneer Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.

Then the shuttle hatch closed and just before 9:15 am ET, the four of them exploded into space in the first human flight in Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle.

Bezos is the second billionaire this month to reach the edge of space: Richard Branson shot there last week aboard a ship made by his company Virgin Galactic.

New Shepard’s release date was no accident: July 20 was the day in 1969 that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.

The crew climbed 62 miles above Earth in minutes

New Shepard’s suborbital flight path was designed to go higher than the Kármán Line, which is often considered the boundary of space: about 62 miles above the Earth.

That line has been an obstacle in the space race between Bezos and Branson.

Branson’s SpaceShipTwo reached a peak altitude of about 282,000 feet – higher than the NASA-designated Earth-Space boundary of 50 miles, but below the Kármán Line.

After about three minutes of flight, the propeller separated from the crew capsule. The New Shepard then passed the Kármán Line, with cheers heard over the shuttle’s audio.

A sonic boom was heard as the booster returned to Earth.

The capsule remained in the sky longer, floating against the blue sky. Around the eight-minute mark of the flight, parachutes fired from the capsule to give the crew an easy touch.

The capsule landed on the desert sand and a cloud of soft dust rose around them. In all, the mission lasted about 11 minutes, from takeoff to touch.

After the capsule landed, cars arrived carrying crews to open the hatch and cameramen to document the moment. Scarce winds allowed the capsule to land where it was expected.

Jeff Bezos descended from the capsule first, followed by Daemen. Then Funk appeared, arms outstretched with joy. Mark Bezos left last, and the four hugged family and friends.

The beginning of the space tourism era

The launch is a big day for Bezos, but it’s mainly an advertisement for Blue Origin’s space tourism program. The company’s webcast said interested viewers should get in touch about booking a seat on a future Blue Origin flight.