Bezos and crew enjoy trip to space
Washington – Billionaire Jeff Bezos blasted into space on Tuesday, 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.
All four passengers have now parachuted safely back to Earth after their ten-minute, ten-second trip.
New Shepard, built by Bezos’ company Blue Origin, is designed to serve the burgeoning market for space tourism among the super-wealthy.
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.
After the capsule touched down, Bezos said: “Astronaut Bezos [his callsign]: Best day ever!”
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, 100km up.
The passengers experienced about four minutes of weightlessness, and were able to unstrap from their seats to float around and enjoy the views of our planet far below.
As the capsule passed the Karman Line, the astronauts could be heard shouting “wow!” and cheering.
Oh my word, look at the world,” Ms Funk said as she marvelled at the views.
Before the flight, she had said she was looking forward to performing somersaults and tumbles in microgravity.
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 into space. (BBC)