The founder of e-commerce company Amazon, Jeff Bezos, this week joined another billionaire, Richard Branson, as the richest person to have ever been in space. The Bezos mission marked another milestone in the private space venture.
Bezos rides his New Shepard rocket. The rocket’s name was taken from the name of the first US astronaut, Alan Shepard, on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Inside the Blue Origin capsule are Bezos’s brother Mark, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer, Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen from the Netherlands. Funk and Daemen are the oldest and youngest people ever launched from the planet, respectively.
They floated weightlessly in a New Shepard rocket for several minutes before landing in West Texas where they were greeted with a splash of champagne. Bezos said the flight was just the beginning for entrepreneurial activity in space.
“We will build a path to outer space so that our children and their children can build the future. We need to do that to solve problems on this Earth.”
Blue Origin has not disclosed passenger fees for future flights, but Bezos said his company has so far sold nearly $100 million in tickets. The public auction for seats on the first flight attracted $28 million for charity. [lt/em]