Jeff Bezos Successfully Flies To Space With World’s Youngest & Oldest Astronauts!
Jeff Bezos took off on Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight on Tuesday joined by brother Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, and 18-year-old son of a Dutch financier Oliver Daemen.
The spectacle took place in the flight’s Launch Site One in a remote location in the West Texas desert in the United States.
The flight’s namesake Alan Shepard was the first American in space.
Blue Origin celebrated the achievement by congratulating “all of Team Blue past and present”.
The crew included first-time astronauts who have cemented their place in spaceflight history.
The New Shepard capsule traveled at a speed of over 2,300 mph (3700 kph) above the Karman line and back, all completed in 10 minutes.
The Karman line is the globally recognised boundary of space 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth.
The rocket was propelled by a liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen engine whose only byproduct is water vapor.
The crew got to experience 3-4 minutes of weightlessness in near-zero gravity.
In a video posted on Instagram by Bezos, the passengers can be seen floating above their seats performing somersaults in low gravity.
Our planet was visible through the windows.
The first human spaceflight then safely and gently landed back on earth aided by three giant parachutes.
Bezos called it the best day of his life.
The richest man on earth recalled a saying by astronauts who’ve been to space that it is a life changing moment as they are awestruck by the spectacle of their own planet from a distance.
Many barriers were broken that day by 82 year old female aviator Wally Funk and 18-year-old Dutchman Oliver Daemen, who became the oldest and youngest ever astronaut respectively.
Daemen was brought on board at the last minute since the previous bidder who put up $28 million for a seat had to drop out due to scheduling conflict.
Since the New Shepard is a fully autonomous spacecraft, there were no staff astronauts required on board.
The event was the first undertaking by a commercial company launching a privately funded and built spacecraft from a private launch range with astronauts on board.
In what might be the most eventful month for private space exploration, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson took a spaceflight on the VSS Unity on July 11, setting the stage for private companies participating in the space race.
However, he covered a slightly shorter distance at 53.5 miles above the planet.
He was impressed by the event and congratulated the Blue Origin crew on their feat.
A Potential Practical Purpose
Beyond ambitions of private firms to gain ultra-rich customers wanting to go to space, a practical purpose was also served wherein the rockets involved can be reused instead of breaking apart midair.
Rockets reused like airplanes is a major factor which could lower the cost of space travel and increase accessibility.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin is at work developing a heavy-lift orbital rocket called New Glenn and also a moon lander.
It hopes to contract the latter to NASA.