- Blue Origin intends to send tourists across the so-called Karman line.
- The race of billionaires for space is a big deal.
- The trip is the culmination of a twenty-year journey for Bezos with his company Blue Origin.
VAN HORN, Texas – Amazon billionaire founder Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin rocket crew made dreams come true and go down in history, exploding from the West Texas desert, reaching space and returning to Earth in a smooth parachute that landed a few minutes later.
“Happy, happy, happy!” Said Jeff Bezos from space. “You have a very lucky crew up here!”
New Shepard provided large windows to enjoy the view, and the crew was also treated with three or four minutes of weightlessness. The rocket launcher landed smoothly, landing vertically about seven minutes after launch. The capsule containing the astronauts landed with parachutes and an “air cushion” created from retro rockets, just over 10 minutes after takeoff.
“The best day ever,” said Jeff Bezos after the touch, which was greeted on the company’s campus by a sea of fans employed by Blue Origin and others.
Also on board was his brother Mark, a longtime advocate of women in space Mary Wallace “Wally” Funkand Oliver Daemen, de facto auction winner for the fourth seat of the capsule. Funk (82) is now the oldest person ever in space. Daemen (18) is the youngest. Delighted passengers climbed out of the capsule, embracing family and friends.
“I congratulate the entire past and present of Team Blue on achieving this historic moment in the history of spaceflight,” Blue Origin tweeted. “This first crew of astronauts has entered the space books of space, opening the door through which many will later pass.”
The summer on Tuesday marked the 52nd anniversary of the descent of the month of Apollo 11. Bezos launched not only a much faster space trip, but what the richest man in the world hopes for a lucrative business. Blue Origin employs thousands in several states and campuses. Virgin Galactic competitor Richard Branson has more than 800 employees. A space ticket can cost $ 200,000 or more.
Bezos said Blue Origin is planning two more flights this year alone and that sales of private seats on its flights are already approaching $ 100 million.
Branson and his crew stormed the edge of space last week. Bezos and his team they say they violated it.
It’s the 16th flight to New Shepard, but the first to involve humans. Bezos and Blue Origin were somewhat neglected Branson’s flight nine days ago, saying Virgin Galactic’s highest altitude of 53.5 miles did not reach the right space.
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NASA, the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and some astrophysicists believe that the boundary between the atmosphere and space should start 50 miles upwards. Thus, travelers on Virgin Galactic tourist trips, which can reach a maximum altitude of about 55 miles, will acquire the wings of astronauts.
The new Shepard was flying about 66 miles up. It crossed the so-called Karman line, 62 miles above the Earth, which most international aviation and aviation federations recognized as the threshold of space.
“Only 4% of the world recognizes the lower limit of 80 km or 50 miles as the beginning of space,” Blue Origin posted on Twitter ahead of Branson’s flight. “The new Shepard flies over both borders. One of the many benefits of flying with Blue Origin.”
Despite the competition, Blue Origin and Bezos posted a congratulatory message on social media after Branson landed. On Tuesday, Branson followed their example.
“Bravo Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, Mark, Wally and Oliver. Impressive!” Branson said via Twitter after the touch. “Best for the entire crew of me and the entire Virgin Galactic team.”
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Bezos, who recently left his position as CEO of Amazon, has not forgotten how the trip was funded. He thanked “every Amazon employee and all Amazon customers. Because you paid for all this. “But Andy Levin’s representative, D-Mich, remarked on Twitter that Bezos was driving his rocket ship” for just over 10 minutes. Amazon warehouse workers in ‘megacyclical’ shifts will be on their feet for 10 hours. I am fighting for an economy that values the dignity of their work, not the multiplication of its wealth. “
The new Shepard, a fully automated 60-foot rocket and capsule, is designed primarily for space tourism thanks to automated flight systems, large windows and a modern interior. After lifting, the booster returns to the object for a vertical landing, while the capsule floats briefly in space and is then parachuted near the launch site.
Branson, 71, and a crew of two pilots and three mission specialists took the VMS Eve plane, named after Branson’s mother, to a height of more than eight miles. The live video then showed the release of the VSS Unity spacecraft between the double hulls of the mother ship, using rocket power to fly to the somewhat disputed space boundary.
Like Branson, Bezos, 57, gives his New Shepard vehicle final confirmation after first flying in it.
For Bezos, whose fortune is estimated at $ 177 billion, the short trip was the culmination of a 20-year journey with his company Blue Origin.
“My expectations were high and were dramatically exceeded,” Bezos said of the flight.
Mark Bezos, 53, is an entrepreneur and volunteer firefighter at the Scarsdale Fire Department in Scarsdale, New York. Jeff Bezos said he considers his brother his oldest, closest friend and “funniest” person to ever go into space.
Daemen, a physics student from the Netherlands, was second in the auction for the position. The first-place finisher, who offered an incredible $ 28 million, decided to remain anonymous and instead lead the future New Shepard mission. Daemen’s father Joes is the founder of the Dutch hedge fund Somerset Capital Partners.
Funk is known for her participation in “Mercury 13”, a group of women who underwent private, unofficial training of astronauts in the 1960s, but were not selected to fly NASA missions. Funk said after Bezos selected her for the flight that she did not believe she would ever reach space. He is now finally officially an astronaut.
“We had a great time; it was wonderful,” she said after the flight. “I want to go again – fast!”
Bacon reported from Arlington, Virginia