Jeff Bezos and 3 others take maiden flight to space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard
Jeff Bezos took his maiden spaceflight to space marking a historic event in the space industry. Blue Origin's launch vehicle New Shepard took the human crew up to space and successfully brought them back to Earth in a 10 minutes mission.
"Best day ever," said Jeff Bezos upon touchdown.
Jeff Bezos’ brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old pilot Wally Funk, first female FAA inspector and first female NTSB air safety investigator, and 18-year old Oliver Daemen also joined the journey to space. With this, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen became the older and youngest crew members to fly to space.
According to Blue Origin, the crew members travelled over the Kármán line, 100 km above the ground, recognised as the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space, and returned back to Earth. The entire spaceflight lasted about 10 minutes.
[Image Credit: Blue Origin]
The four crew members visited space on Jeff Bezos owned Blue Origin’s launch vehicle named New Shepard which launched from Launch Site One in West Texas. The 60-foot reusable suborbital rocket has been named after NASA astronaut Alan Shepherd. Blue Origin explained that the New Shepard has been launched 15 times before this mission.
“We set out to design the vehicle for anybody, not professional astronauts, anybody with little training. That is a very hard problem. Yes, we have succeeded and I would put my own kids on that vehicle," said Gary Lai, Senior Director of New Shepard design crew.
Taking to Twitter, the company said, “NewShepard’s flight profile lasts approximately 11 minutes from launch to capsule landing. Astronauts will experience three to four minutes of zero-g and travel above the Kármán Line, the internationally recognised boundary of space.”
The youngest crew member Oliver Daemen, who is the first paying customer of New Shepard, graduated from high school in 2020. Oliver has been fascinated by space since he was four and is now studying to obtain a private pilot’s license. He won the online auction for the very first seat on New Shepard at $28 million.
"The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space," the company said in a statement.
Club for the Future has announced a $1 million grant to 19 non-profit charitable organisations to inspire the future generation to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space.
This development comes in about 10 days after billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson took his maiden trip to suborbital space on Virgin Galactic's rocket ship Unity 22. These developments are a step forward to achieving mankind's vision of space tourism.