Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon and aerospace and space flight company Blue Origin. New Shepard is a reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts past the Kármán line.
Blue Origin has now successfully completed the first human flight on the New Shepard with four private citizens. The crew included Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos, as well as Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen.
“My expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded,” said Bezos at the the post-flight press conference. “It felt so serene and peaceful. It’s a very pleasurable experience.”
Funk, 82, became the oldest person to fly in space, while Daemen, 18, became the youngest. As for Mark and Jeff, the Bezos brothers became the first siblings to ever fly to space together.
Jeff and Mark Bezos fly on the New Shepard
Additionally, Daemen was the first-ever commercial astronaut to purchase a ticket and fly to space on a privately-funded space vehicle from a private launch site.
“The most profound piece of it for me was looking out at the Earth and looking at the Earth’s atmosphere,” Bezos explained.
“Every astronaut, everybody who’s been up into space, they say that it changes them, they look at it and they’re amazed and awestruck.”
Blue Origin plans to fly two more crewed flights in 2021, with additional crewed flights planned for 2022. Richard Branson‘s spaceship company Virgin Galactic recently got approval to fly customers to space.
Blue Origin launches space tourism
“Today was a monumental day for Blue Origin and human spaceflight,” added Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin.
“I am so incredibly proud of Team Blue, their professionalism, and expertise in executing today’s flight. This was a big step forward for us and is only the beginning.”
Meanwhile, Bezos is gifting $200m to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which will go towards a renovation and education centre. It is the largest donation to the Smithsonian since its founding gift from James Smithson in 1846.
In more news, Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC) is making progress on its space tourism project with the world’s first space hotel expected to debut in 2027.
Images: Blue Origin