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Jeff Bezos launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship

Jeff Bezos  launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship
Blue Origin, wally funk, OLIVER Daemen, jeff bezos space flight, Bezos, jeff bezos space, Blue Origin launch, jeff bezos net worth


Jeff Bezos hails 'best day ever' after successful Blue Origin space flight Tue, 20 Jul 2021 11:00:00 +0100-The world's richest man and three other passengers return safely just over 10 minutes after launch.

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Jeff Bezos launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship

By Paul Rincon
Science editor, BBC News website

media captionThe moment Jeff Bezos and crew launch into space on the first human flight of New Shepard

Billionaire Jeff Bezos has made a short journey to space, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard.

He was accompanied by Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student.

They travelled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth.

When the capsule touched back down after the 10-minute, 10-second flight, Jeff Bezos exclaimed: “Best day ever!”

New Shepard, built by Bezos' company Blue Origin, is designed to serve the burgeoning market for space tourism.

Amazon founder Mr Bezos – and other participants in the “billionaire space race” – have been criticised for offering what some see as joy rides for the super-wealthy. Critics say the money could be spent on pay rises for employees or fighting climate change.

However, Mr Bezos insists he has an environmental vision: “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry and move it into space, and keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is,” he told MSNBC.

“It's going to take decades and decades to achieve, but you have to start, and big things start with small steps… that's what this sub-orbital tourism mission allows us to do, it allows us to practice over and over.”

image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionFrom left: Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen, Wally Funk

On this flight was the oldest person who has been to space – Ms Funk – and the youngest, student Oliver Daemen.

The spacecraft lifted off at 14:12 BST (09:12 EDT) from a private launch site near Van Horn, Texas.

At a post-launch news briefing, Jeff Bezos said: “My expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded.”

Two minutes into the flight, the capsule separated from its rocket and continued upwards towards the Karman Line – the most widely recognised boundary of space, that lies 100km up. The newly minted-astronauts shouted “wow!” and cheered.

image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionThe moment the capsule touched down in the West Texas desert

The post-flight briefing was shown video of the occupants performing somersaults and tumbles during four minutes of weightlessness. Stunning views of the Earth could be seen outside.

Jeff Bezos said he was surprised by the sensation of microgravity: “It felt so normal,” he explained.

Ms Funk added: “It was great, I loved it, I can hardly wait to go again.”

In the 1960s, Ms Funk was one member of a group of women called the Mercury 13. They underwent the same screening tests as male astronauts, but never got to fly under the US national space programme.

Mr Bezos told CBS News on Monday: “Wally can outrun all of us. During the Mercury 13, she was better than all the men and I can guarantee that's still true today.”

Bezos' brother Mark, 53, is a senior vice president at Robin Hood, a New York-based charity.

media captionThe Silicon Valley space race

Oliver Daemen is the son of a Dutch financier. He had originally secured a seat on the second flight, but was drafted in to replaced the anonymous winner of a public auction who had to pull out from the trip with Bezos.

The capsule reached a maximum altitude of around 107km (351,210ft) before starting its descent, parachuting down to a soft landing in the West Texas desert.

image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionMr Bezos was delighted as he stepped out of the capsule after landing
image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionThe passengers' families were at the landing site to greet them

On the way down, Jeff Bezos told mission control: “You have a very happy crew here up here.”

Mark revealed that iconic items from aviation history were brought along on the flight. These included a piece of canvas used on the Wright brothers' first plane, a medallion made from the vehicle that performed the first hot air balloon flight in 1783 and a pair of goggles used by pilot Amelia Earhart.

Jeff Bezos recently resigned as chief executive of Amazon, the e-commerce giant he founded, in order to concentrate on his other ventures, including Blue Origin.

By Paul Rincon
Science editor, BBC News website

media captionThe moment Jeff Bezos and crew launch into space on the first human flight of New Shepard

Billionaire Jeff Bezos has made a short journey to space, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard.

He was accompanied by Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student.

They travelled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth.

When the capsule touched back down after the 10-minute, 10-second flight, Jeff Bezos exclaimed: “Best day ever!”

New Shepard, built by Bezos' company Blue Origin, is designed to serve the burgeoning market for space tourism.

Amazon founder Mr Bezos – and other participants in the “billionaire space race” – have been criticised for offering what some see as joy rides for the super-wealthy. Critics say the money could be spent on pay rises for employees or fighting climate change.

However, Mr Bezos insists he has an environmental vision: “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry and move it into space, and keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is,” he told MSNBC.

“It's going to take decades and decades to achieve, but you have to start, and big things start with small steps… that's what this sub-orbital tourism mission allows us to do, it allows us to practice over and over.”

image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionFrom left: Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos, Oliver Daemen, Wally Funk

On this flight was the oldest person who has been to space – Ms Funk – and the youngest, student Oliver Daemen.

The spacecraft lifted off at 14:12 BST (09:12 EDT) from a private launch site near Van Horn, Texas.

At a post-launch news briefing, Jeff Bezos said: “My expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded.”

Two minutes into the flight, the capsule separated from its rocket and continued upwards towards the Karman Line – the most widely recognised boundary of space, that lies 100km up. The newly minted-astronauts shouted “wow!” and cheered.

image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionThe moment the capsule touched down in the West Texas desert

The post-flight briefing was shown video of the occupants performing somersaults and tumbles during four minutes of weightlessness. Stunning views of the Earth could be seen outside.

Jeff Bezos said he was surprised by the sensation of microgravity: “It felt so normal,” he explained.

Ms Funk added: “It was great, I loved it, I can hardly wait to go again.”

In the 1960s, Ms Funk was one member of a group of women called the Mercury 13. They underwent the same screening tests as male astronauts, but never got to fly under the US national space programme.

Mr Bezos told CBS News on Monday: “Wally can outrun all of us. During the Mercury 13, she was better than all the men and I can guarantee that's still true today.”

Bezos' brother Mark, 53, is a senior vice president at Robin Hood, a New York-based charity.

media captionThe Silicon Valley space race

Oliver Daemen is the son of a Dutch financier. He had originally secured a seat on the second flight, but was drafted in to replaced the anonymous winner of a public auction who had to pull out from the trip with Bezos.

The capsule reached a maximum altitude of around 107km (351,210ft) before starting its descent, parachuting down to a soft landing in the West Texas desert.

image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionMr Bezos was delighted as he stepped out of the capsule after landing
image copyrightBlue Origin
image captionThe passengers' families were at the landing site to greet them

On the way down, Jeff Bezos told mission control: “You have a very happy crew here up here.”

Mark revealed that iconic items from aviation history were brought along on the flight. These included a piece of canvas used on the Wright brothers' first plane, a medallion made from the vehicle that performed the first hot air balloon flight in 1783 and a pair of goggles used by pilot Amelia Earhart.

Jeff Bezos recently resigned as chief executive of Amazon, the e-commerce giant he founded, in order to concentrate on his other ventures, including Blue Origin.


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Jeff Bezos launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship Tue, 20 Jul 2021 11:00:00 +0100-Suborbital flight on New Shepard rocket lasted 11 minutes, but Bezos condemned for travelling to space while Amazon workers toil.

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Jeff Bezos hails ‘best day ever’ after successful Blue Origin space flight

July 20, 2021

The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos hailed “the best day ever” after completing his pioneering foray into space on Tuesday with three crewmates, among them his brother Mark.

The billionaire’s New Shepard rocket and capsule touched down in the Texas desert after a suborbital flight that lasted a mere 11 minutes, but set several records for his Blue Origin space company, including the oldest and youngest humans to fly into space.

Wally Funk, an 82-year-old female aviation pioneer who trained as an astronaut in the 1960s, flew as Bezos’s guest, while Oliver Daemen, 18, a student from the Netherlands and son of a private enquiry firm’s chief executive, was Blue Origin’s first paying customer.

The world’s richest man with an estimated net worth of $206bn, Bezos, 57, sprayed champagne and shouted his enjoyment after the successful landing of New Shepard’s first crewed mission following 15 uncrewed test flights.

“It was the best day ever,” Bezos said after emerging from the capsule, adding that he felt “unbelievably good” and that his colleagues were “a very happy crew”.

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Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, pioneering female aviator Wally Funk and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen pose ahead of their scheduled flight. Photograph: Blue Origin/Reuters

The tycoon, however, has also attracted criticism for putting his fortune into space tourism amid concerns over working conditions at Amazon, and “aggressive” tax avoidance.

In recent years, Bezos, who stood down as Amazon chief executive this month to concentrate on the space company he founded in 2000, has sold about $1bn in Amazon stock annually to fund Blue Origin.

In a post-flight press conference on Tuesday, Bezos said the venture had reinforced his commitment to tackling the climate crisis, and using New Shepard as a stepping stone towards colonising space for the benefit of Earth.

“The whole point of doing this is to practice,” said Bezos, who announced in February that he was donating $10bn to efforts to “preserve and protect the natural world”.

“Every time we fly this tourism mission we’re practicing flying the second stage of New Glenn,” he added, referring to Blue Origin’s planned reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle, which is central to his vision of ultimately moving industry off the planet.

“We’re going to build a road to space so our kids, and their kids, can build the future. This is not about escaping Earth … this is the only good planet in the solar system and we have to take care of it. When you go to space and see how fragile it is you want to take care of it even more.”

Bezos, who donated the proceeds from the New Shepard seat auction to Blue Origin’s Club for the Future to encourage young people to pursue careers in space and science, also announced two $100m “Courage and Civility” awards for recipients to donate to charities of their choice.

Asked if he would fly into space again, Bezos was unequivocal.

“Hell yes,” he said. “How fast can you refuel that thing? Let’s go.”

The firm intends to run regular space tourism flights for commercial passengers.

New Shepard, named as a tribute to Alan Shepard, the first American in Space in 1961, blasted off into a clear blue sky from the launchpad in Van Horn, Texas, at 8.12am local time, the first of three scheduled flights this year, on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The crew capsule successfully separated from its rocket booster shortly before reaching the 62-mile altitude Kármán Line, the internationally accepted boundary of space, after about three minutes of flight.

The crew experienced about three to four minutes of weightlessness during which the spacecraft reached the top of its flight path at 66.5 miles, more than 10 miles higher than the British billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s flight to the edge of space aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity nine days earlier.

Audio from the capsule on Blue Origin’s live webcast of the flight captured the crew members shouting in excitement as they floated around the spacecraft. Video was later released.

After re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the capsule glided to a gentle landing on parachutes, minutes after the reusable booster made a powered landing on a nearby pad.

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Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule parachutes safely down to the launch area, near Van Horn, Texas, on Tuesday. Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP

Mark Bezos assumed the moniker “Astronaut Demo”, for the flight to distinguish him from his brother, Astronaut Bezos. Their sister Christina, director of the family foundation, sent her siblings a message before the flight, reminding them how they would pretend to be Star Trek characters as children.

“As you buckle in, I’m reminded of when Jeff was Captain Kirk, Mark, you were Sulu, and I took the role of Uhura, we would battle Klingons while firing torpedoes, all the while dodging in and out of traffic and praying that we make it to our destination safely,” she said.

“Mark, be prepared to fire those torpedoes in order to do so. Now, get your asses back down here so I can give you a big hug. We love you, and Godspeed New Shepard.”

Blue Origin has opened sales for space tourism flights but has not set a price or revealed how much Daemen paid. The winning bid in a June auction for the first seat was $28m (£20m), the winner pulling out of Tuesday’s flight because of a “scheduling conflict”.


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– July 20, 2021
Jeff Bezos launches to space aboard New Shepard rocket ship
Blue Origin, wally funk, OLIVER Daemen, jeff bezos space flight, Bezos, jeff bezos space, Blue Origin launch, jeff bezos net worth

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