Production: Adriana Toca / Texts: Sarah Romero
Jeff Bezos traveled with a motley crew of three other passengers: his brother Mark, the iconic 82-year-old aviation pilot Wally Funk, and the 18-year-old Dutch high school graduate Oliver Daemen.
Bezos thus fulfilled his childhood dream and ended a long series of delays for his private space company, Blue Origin.
The four astronauts were propelled to a height of 107 km, 7 km above the internationally recognized limit of space., on a rocket built by Blue Origin. The spacecraft, New Shepard, is named after American astronaut Alan Shepard. There, they experienced about three minutes of weightlessness and views of Earth through giant portholes that the company had called the “largest windows in space” before their capsule returned to the desert for a soft landing under three parachutes.
This launch marks the first of paid space tourism trips on a fully developed and privately operated rocket.
A smiling Bezos, wearing a cowboy hat, emerged from the capsule minutes after landing to exchange hand shocks and hugs with a group of supporters who had rushed to the landing site.
It is the second of these space milestones in the same month. Sir Richard Branson traveled in a Virgin Galactic space plane at an altitude of 86 km nine days ago. But while the British businessman has set his sights squarely on space tourism, Bezos has larger or more ambitious plans. They are also working on a giant rocket and a lunar lander.