Jeff Bezos and three passengers reached the edge of space and safely returned Tuesday morning (Jul. 20, 2021) after a flight of just over 10 minutes the billionaire businessman hopes will kickstart an expansive new era for human space travel.
Bezos and his fellow passengers were launched at 9:12 a.m. ET to the edge of space from a remote west Texas site on the New Shepard, a rocket-powered spacecraft developed by his company Blue Origin LLC.
“Best day ever,” Bezos exclaimed once the capsule had settled in the dust near the launch site.
That Bezos himself was seated in the capsule reflects his enthusiasm for the endeavor and perhaps signals his intent to give Blue Origin the focus and creative entrepreneurship that made Amazon one of the most powerful economic forces on the planet.
Outside of short delays in the countdown, the launch proceeded smoothly.
He was joined in the mission by his younger brother Mark Bezos and the two people who have become the youngest and oldest to travel to space – Dutch 18-year-old Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old aerospace pioneer Wally Funk respectively.
Funk and Daemen became the oldest and youngest people, respectively, ever to travel to space. And this flight marked the first-ever crewed mission for Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital space tourism rocket, which the company plans to use to take wealthy thrill seekers on high-flying joy rides in the months and years to come.