Billionaire Jeff Bezos, backed by the team at his company Blue Origin, achieved a life dream with today’s space flight. Accompanied by his brother Mark, teenager Oliver Daemen and early space pioneer Wally Funk (aged 82), the Amazon founder descended safely by parachute after the 10-minute, 10-second excursion outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The capsule launched aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
An ebullient Jeff Bezos emerged from the capsule to say, “Astronaut Bezos! Best day ever!” [“Astronaut Bezos” is his callsign.]
The passenger manifest gained notoriety for including the youngest astronaut, student Daemen, as well as the most senior. In the1960s heyday for space exploration, Wally Funk was a member of the group known as Mercury 13—women who completed the same rigorous training as their male counterparts but never got to launch into outer space. While preparing for the Blue Origin flight, she told of how she was anticipating the thrill of doing somersaults in the cabin.
Two minutes after the New Shepard lifted off at 9:12 (EDT) from the private launch site in Texas, the capsule separated and climbed to the 100-km altitude Karman Line, recognized as the edge of outer space. The passengers were weightless for about four minutes.