Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos, 57, has a new title to add to his resume: Astronaut.
Bezos successfully flew to the edge of space on Tuesday on a rocket and capsule developed by his personal space travel company Blue Origin. The billionaire entrepreneur made history by being part of the first unmanned Surborpital aircraft with all the civilian crew. The much-anticipated voyage was the first group for Blue Origin’s new Shepherd rocket.
Bezos was launched into space at 9:11 a.m. Tuesday from a base in the West Texas desert southeast of El Paso. After the lift, the new Shepherd rocket accelerated into space at three times the speed of sound. At 250,000 feet, the capsule split and carried Bezos and his crew to the edge of space. The craft then descended under parachutes and landed back in the Texas desert. The whole flight lasted about 10 minutes.
Both the new Shepherd rocket and the capsule are designed to be reusable.
Richard Branson, another billionaire British businessman, released Bezos nine days later Flew to the edge of space In a rocket-powered vehicle designed by his own space travel company Virgin Galactic. Both aircraft – along with competition between rival billionaires – have garnered global attention and sparked interest and excitement in the new space tourism industry.
In an interview Monday on NBC’s “Today” show, he said He described his anticipation for the trip.
“I can not wait to see what it will be like. People going into space say they’re back,” Bezos told “Today” co-host Hota Code. “I can not wait to see what this is going to do to me.”
Joining Bezos on the plane were his brother Mark and Wally Funk, 82, a former test pilot who was one of 13 Mercury women, trained in the 1960s to prove that women can qualify for NASA astronauts. Funk is now the oldest person to reach space.
Came around a group of four Oliver Damon, 18, of the Netherlands, Now holds the title of Junior Astronaut.
Bezos’ plane is a suburb, meaning he and his crew did not actually enter orbit around Earth. In contrast, the capsule reached the edge of space at an altitude of about 65 miles, where passengers experienced about four minutes of weightlessness.
Although the Bezos subdivision experience is similar to that of the French, the Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic operate with different flight profiles. The Unity Craft, powered by a Virgin Galactic rocket, is launched from a height of 50,000 feet by a carrier aircraft and is flown by two pilots. Blue Origin’s new Shepherd rocket and capsule are designed to fly vertically and autonomously.
The Blue Origin capsule is designed to reach greater heights than the Virgin Galactic vehicle. The edge of space is often called the Gorman line at a distance of 62 miles. The New Shepherd capsule flies above the Gorman line, while the Virgin Galactic craft reaches a height of about 53 miles during Branson’s flight, which sparks growing competition among companies.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force recognize the limit of space within 50 miles, meaning that Bezos, Branson and all their fellow passengers are eligible to receive their commercial astronaut divisions.
Bezos’ aircraft was an important milestone for the Blue Origin and commercial aerospace industry, which until now was dominated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Both Franசன்ois and Bezos’ planes could open up lucrative new markets for more expensive travel to the edge of space.
Blue Origin has not yet announced ticket prices for the sorbital joyrides, which are expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars. The company hopes to launch operational flights in the future by paying passengers.
However, it will take some time to build the space tourism industry, said Marco Cesares, an aerospace analyst with Deal Group Corp., an aerospace and security market analytics firm.
“Planes with these billionaires are good for exposure and attract attention, but it’s normal to add confidence,” Caesars said. “It’s important to show that these companies can make a lot of flights without significant problems and major accidents.”
In addition to the Surborpital trips offered by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, SpaceX plans to launch orbital flights later this year. First mission to space with a crew of all citizens.
While the cost of suburban and orbital travel is unaffordable for most people, Bezos has spoken of the importance of opening up access to space, especially for young scientists and researchers.
“This is to create a road to space so that future generations can do incredible things in space,” Bezos told the “Today” show on Monday.
Bezos, Branson and Musk all faced the setback of what some consider to be ego-driven or frivolous efforts. But Jim Condrell, chief executive of Arizona-based Phantom Space, which aims to build and launch commercial satellites, says reviews do not take into account the long-term benefits of investing in space technologies.
“These humans are doing something they think is fundamental to the future of humanity, which is a starting point,” said Condrell, a former executive at SpaceX.
“These are the entrepreneurs who have helped solve many of the problems on earth,” he said. “People should welcome this study attitude because it found the same kind of mindset to cure diseases and gave us the best medicine.”