Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, went into space on Tuesday. It was a brief jaundice aboard a spacecraft built by Mr. Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin—60-some miles in the sky over west Texas.
The flight, even though it did not enter orbit, was a milestone for the company that Amazon founder Mr. Bezos began more than 20 years ago, marking the first time a Blue Origin vehicle took people into space.
“Best day ever,” Mr Bezos said once the dust settled near the capsule’s launch site.
Mr. Bezos himself sat in the capsule, reflecting his enthusiasm for the endeavor and perhaps indicating his intention to give Blue Origin the focus and creative entrepreneurship that made Amazon one of the most powerful economic forces on the planet.
Apart from a short delay in the countdown, the launch proceeded smoothly.
Just after 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the four passengers arrived at a bridge above the launch platform, with each ringing a bell at one end before crossing the capsule. Then they started climbing the capsule one by one and got down on their seats.
The stubby rocket and capsule, named New Shepard after Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space, lifted off at 9:11 a.m. from the company’s launch site in Van Horn, a thin jet of fire and exhaust streaming from the rocket’s engine.
Once the booster had used up its propellant, the capsule separated from the rocket at an altitude of about 47 miles. Both fragments continued to move upward, crossing the 62-mile boundary often considered the beginning of outer space.
Mr Bezos and the passengers cheered in the capsule without buckling and floating around the capsule as they felt the fall for about four minutes.
“You have a very happy crew here, I want you to know,” Mr. Bezos said as the capsule landed.
The booster landed vertically, similar to rival spaceflight company SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 booster. The capsule descended until it was slowly covered in a plume of dust.
At 9:21 a.m., 10 minutes and 10 seconds after launch, it was over.
The four passengers exited the capsule just after 9:30 a.m., and embraced loved ones, friends and ground crew while celebrating.