World’s richest man blasts into space on Blue Origin rocket

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet, has described his brief trip to space as “the first step of something big” after blasting off aboard a Blue Origin rocket on its first human flight.

The rocket launched from a base in the west Texas desert at 8:12am on Tuesday local time (11:12pm AEST), and hit speeds of 3700km/h as it shot towards space.

The capsule separated from its booster and crossed the Karman line, the internationally recognised boundary between Earth and space, at 100km of altitude.

A quick 11 minutes after takeoff, it landed back on Earth.

The trip was timed to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the first moon landing.

Bezos was joined by his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who won his seat in an auction, making him Blue Origin’s “first paying customer”.

Blue Origin has not disclosed how much he paid.

Funk, a barrier-breaking female pilot, completed testing in the 1960s as part of the Women in Space Program, but was stopped from going to space by her gender.

The four-person crew appeared at a media conference after returning to Earth.

Jeffrey Ashby, a former space shuttle commander who now works as Blue Origin’s chief of mission assurance, presented each of them with their “wings” – a badge signifying their visit to space.

Ashby described Funk, Daemen and the Bezos brothers as “the first four of millions to follow”.

“I’m so happy. Thank you Jeff,” Bezos said as he accepted his badge.

“There are few people I know more deserving of this, Jeff. Seriously,” said Ashby.

“And I don’t know what you’re going to do next, but I can’t wait to watch.”

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