Amazon founder and CEO Mr. Jeff Bezos and three others, landed safely, after Blue Origin’s maiden voyage to space with passengers, which marked a significant step forward in the company’s efforts to make space tourism a reality.
Mr. Bezos took off with his brother Mr. Mark and two history-making passengers, 82-year-old aviation pioneer Ms. Wally Funk, the oldest person to fly in space, and Mr. Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old Dutch student who is the youngest ever to fly in space, competing head to head with fellow billionaire Mr. Richard Branson, who flew into space aboard his Virgin Galactic rocket plane on July 11.
“My expectations were high, and they were drastically exceeded. The zero-G (gravity) piece may have been one of the biggest surprises because it felt so normal, it felt almost like humans evolved to be in that environment. It’s a very pleasurable experience. We’re going to fly human missions twice more this year. We’re approaching $100 million in private sales already and the demand is very high.”
The company’s capsule landed in West Texas at about 8.22 am local time last day, roughly 10 minutes after it launched aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The crew experienced a few moments of weightlessness as the spaceship flew past the Karman line at an altitude of about 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth. The capsule then parachuted back.
The mission caps a landmark month for space-tourism ventures, occurring just nine days after Mr. Richard Branson flew to space on a special plane made by Virgin Galactic, a rival to Blue Origin. Both companies are planning to expand their operations in order to persuade wealthy customers to pay a high price for a one-of-a-kind travel experience.
Despite the battle for attention, the ultimate goal is to make such journeys common on rockets that can be reused like planes. Instead of breaking apart in the atmosphere, the New Shepard rocket returned to a landing pad to be reused.