Bezos returns from flight to space
Jeff Bezos successfully returned to Earth from his trip to the edge of space on Tuesday morning, touching down at around 9:22 a.m. ET.
Bezos launched into space aboard a rocket and capsule that was developed by his spaceflight company, Blue Origin. The New Shepard capsule was fully automated and did not have any trained staff on board, according to The Associated Press.
The flight lasted roughly 11 minutes. It took off from a site in the West Texas desert.
Blue Origin said the capsule reached an altitude of 66.5 miles.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 20, 2021
Traveling with Bezos was his brother, Mark; Wally Funk, 82, one of the 13 female pilots who completed the same testing in the 1960s as NASA’s Mercury astronauts but who did not become astronauts because of their gender; and Oliver Daemen, 18, an incoming college student from the Netherlands whose father secured the spot through the bidding process.
The winner of the charity auction paid $28 million for the seat but later dropped out of the launch due to a scheduling conflict, leaving the spot open for Daemen.
Funk and Daemen are now respectively the oldest and youngest people to ever launch into space.
Bezos, during a news conference following the rocket’s return, thanked all Amazon employees and customers for funding Blue Origin’s trip.
“I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this. And so, seriously, for every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Very much. It’s very appreciated,” Bezos said.
He reportedly sold millions of dollars in Amazon stock to funnel more money into Blue Origin, according to CNBC.
When asked if he will fly again, Bezos responded “hell yes,” continuing “how fast can you refuel that thing? Let’s go.”
Funk sounded a similar note, telling the crowd “I loved it.”
“We had a great time. It was just wonderful. I want to go again, fast,” she added.
The passengers were met with cheers from family members when they exited the capsule and celebrated by popping bottles of champagne at the landing site. Bezos was wearing a cowboy hat.
Bezos could be heard saying it was the “best day ever” inside the capsule when it touched back down in Texas, according to CNN. He was also seen giving a thumbs up to the crowd gathered at the landing site.
Blue Origin congratulated the passengers on their historic flight, writing that the team was “opening the door through which many after will pass.”
Congratulations to all of Team Blue past and present on reaching this historic moment in spaceflight history. This first astronaut crew wrote themselves into the history books of space, opening the door through which many after will pass. #GradatimFerociter #NSFirstHumanFlight
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 20, 2021
The journey came on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, when Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made history as the first humans to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969, according to Reuters.
The successful flight comes after English business magnate Richard Branson completed a flight to the edge of space on July 11 aboard a spaceplane created by his company, Virgin Galactic.
Branson’s trip aboard SpaceShipTwo Unity lasted roughly 90 minutes and reached an altitude of about 53 miles.
Updated at 12:33 p.m.