World’s Richest Man, Jeff Bezos Goes To Space Aboard His Rocket Ship

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They travelled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos blasted into space on Tuesday, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard.

The world’s richest man was accompanied by Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student, BBC reports. 

They travelled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth.

All four passengers have now parachuted safely back to Earth after their 10-minute, 10-second trip.

New Shepard, built by Bezos’ company Blue Origin, is designed to serve the burgeoning market for space tourism among the super-wealthy.

On this flight was the oldest person who has been to space – Ms Funk – and the youngest, student Oliver Daemen.

The spacecraft lifted off at 14:12 BST (09:12 EDT) from a private launch site near Van Horn, Texas.

He later said: “My expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded.”

Two minutes into the flight, the capsule separated from its rocket and continued upwards towards the Karman Line – the most widely recognised boundary of space, 100km up. The newly minted-astronauts shouted “wow!” and cheered.

At a post-flight briefing, video was shown of the occupants performing somersaults and tumbles during the four minutes of weightlessness. inside the capsule passengers experienced about four minutes of weightlessness. Stunning views of the Earth could be seen outside.

Jeff Bezos said he was surprised by the sensation of microgravity: “It felt so normal,” he explained.

Ms Funk added: “It was great, I loved it, I can hardly wait to go again.”

In the 1960s, Ms Funk was one member of a group of women called the Mercury 13. They underwent the same screening tests as male astronauts, but never got to fly into space.

Mr Bezos told CBS News on Monday: “Wally can outrun all of us. During the Mercury 13, she was better than all the men and I can guarantee that’s still true today.”

Bezos said he was struck by the views of our “fragile” world, adding how important it was that the earth was protected from ongoing damage. He also said the rocket used “environmentally benign” propellants.

Indeed, Bezos and his business rival Sir Richard Branson, who flew high above the earth in his spaceplane on 11 July, have been on the receiving end of a wave of criticism in recent days. The critics argue the money for space could be spent on tackling climate change, or increasing the salaries of the billionaires’ employees.

Branson has pointed out that satellites are monitoring “the degradation of the rainforests, monitoring food distribution – even things like climate change”.

Bezos, meanwhile, has previously said he wants to move all heavy industry off the earth, turning the planet into a “national park”.

The capsule reached a maximum altitude of around 107km (351,210ft) before starting its descent, parachuting down to a soft touchdown in the desert.

On the way down, Jeff Bezos told mission control: “You have a very happy crew here up here, I want you to know.”

After landing, Mark said: “I am unbelievably good.” He revealed that the passengers had brought several items from aviation history with them on the flight, including a piece of canvas used on the Wright Flyer, which performed the first powered flight in 1903, and a medallion made from the first hot air balloon to soar into the air in 1783.

Jeff Bezos recently resigned as chief executive of Amazon, the e-commerce giant he founded, in order to concentrate on his other ventures, including Blue Origin.

New Shepard rocket – annotated image

Presentational white space

His brother Mark, 53, is a senior vice president at Robin Hood, a New York-based charity.

The fourth passenger is the son of financier Joes Daemen, who founded Dutch private equity firm Somerset Capital Partners. Oliver had originally secured a seat on the second flight, but was drafted in to replaced the anonymous winner of a public auction.

This unnamed winner, who paid $28m (£20m) to join Bezos on New Shepard’s first crewed flight, had to pull out “due to scheduling conflicts”

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