On the same day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon, 52 years later, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos blasted off in a rocket that will take tourists to past the edge of Earth’s atmosphere and into space.
Minutes after launch the rocket booster and the capsule returned safely to earth at Launch Site One in Texas.
Bezos became the second billionaire in space, following Sir Richard Branson’s space flight after the tech entrepreneur blasted off Tuesday morning in his Blue Origin rocket, CNN reported.
Branson beat Bezos when the Virgin Galactic founder leapfrogged over Bezos’ planned launch earlier this month.
Bezos, who is considered the richest human in the universe, will go higher in the New Shepard, flying more than 62 miles above the Earth compared to Branson’s 53-mile altitude, NBC News reported.
Bezos was joined by his brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Mary Wallace Funk, The New York Times reported.
Mark Bezos is the co-founder of HighPost Capital and was formerly the head of communications for the Robin Hood Foundation, the Times reported.
A third seat had been auctioned off with the winner paying $28 million to join the first flight but they were unable to join due to scheduling conflicts, so that spot was taken by 18-year-old Daemen who had bought a ticket on Blue Origin’s second flight and was an auction runner up. He was rescheduled to fly on the inaugural mission. Bezos and Daemen said the teen is the youngest person in space, according to the newspaper.
Funk, who goes by Wally Funk, was selected by NASA for the Mercury 13 Women in Space program and trained with the agency to go into space, but never went. She is now the oldest person to fly into space, breaking the record previously held by John Glenn who was 77 when he flew on board the space shuttle Discovery in 1998, The Guardian reported.
Blue Origin was founded in 2000 in Kent, Washington, near Amazon’s headquarters which is based in Seattle, The Associated Press reported. While this rocket and capsule will be used for space tourism, the company has no opened ticket sales to the public or has said how much a seat will cost.
There are two more flights planned before the end of the year, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith told the AP.
Competitor Virgin Galatic has more than 600 reservations that cost $250,000 each. It will start taking paying passengers to space next year, the AP reported.
©2021 Cox Media Group