Four civilians were shot up to space from Launch Site One, West Texas, 20 July. And then after the suborbital flight, the capsule from the Blue Origin spacecraft New Shepard brought them all back in one piece.
HOUSTON — Jeff Bezos, founder and former CEO of the biggest online retail platform Amazon, launches to space experiencing four minutes of floating and freefall while in outer space.
“Best day ever,” Mr. Bezos exclaims as he emerges from the capsule. The other three passengers: Mark, Bezos; brother; Oliver Daemen, a Dutch student who paid for his seat in Blue Origin; and Mary Wallace Funk, a pilot in the 1960s who was among a group of women who passed the same rigorous astronaut selection criteria employed by NASA but had never, until Tuesday, had the chance to board a rocket.
“Today was a monumental day for Blue Origin and human spaceflight,” says Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin. “I am so incredibly proud of Team Blue, their professionalism, and expertise in executing today’s flight. This was a big step forward for us and is only the beginning.”
Blue Origin has a diverse set of passengers who went to see space. At 18, Mr Daemen is the youngest person to ever go to space. At 82, Ms Funk, who goes by Wally, is the oldest. And then Mark, the brother of the richest guy on earth.
“Thank you,” says Ms Funk to Mr Bezos for the experience.
Mr Bezos, a child during the Apollo era of the 1960s and 1970s, has always been fascinated with outer space.
“Space is something that I have been in love with since I was 5 years old,” he recounted in an interview in 2014.
Focused on Blue Origin in recent years, and in 2017, he announced that he would sell $1 billion of Amazon stock a year to fund the space venture.
“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel,” he says, couching his investment as a form of philanthropy.
Mr Bezos has described a vision that is influenced by the proposals of Gerard O’Neill, a Princeton physicist who in the 1970s proposed giant cylinder-shape space colonies that in great enough numbers would support far more people and industry than is possible on Earth.
“The solar system can easily support a trillion humans,” says Mr Bezos.
“If we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power.”
Featured image: Meet the new astronauts. Oliver Damien, a student of 18; Wally Funk, 82 and still rocks; Jeff Bezos, the richest guy; Mark, the brother.