, Jeff Bezos Successfully Launches On Blue Origin’s First Crewed Spaceflight, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Jeff Bezos Successfully Launches On Blue Origin’s First Crewed Spaceflight

, Jeff Bezos Successfully Launches On Blue Origin’s First Crewed Spaceflight, The Nzuchi News Forbes

The world’s richest man’s 10-minute flight took him and three others over 100km above the Earth’s surface in a crucial milestone for the 21-year old space company.


On Tuesday at 8:12 am CDT, a Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft launched a space capsule, the RSS First Step and its crew on a suborbital jaunt that mimicked the same type of flight made by American astronaut Alan Shepherd 60 years ago. Among that crew was company founder Jeff Bezos, taking his own small step 21 years after getting his space company started.  

“I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life,” Bezos said in a video broadcast before the launch. He was joined by his brother, Mark, customer Oliver Daemon and 82 year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk.

Since its founding in 2000, Bezos has held Blue Origin to himself. He’s put an estimated $7.5 billion of his own money into the company, and unlike rival billionaires Richard Branson or Elon Musk, has taken no venture funding or other investment. 

Blue Origin’s space development has been slow and steady, which is a specific design philosophy: the company’s motto is “Gradatim ferociter,” which translates to “step-by-step ferociously,” and its mascot is a tortoise, a reference to the famous Aesop fable. It flew its first test vehicle in 2005, and its first rocket in 2006. But it wasn’t until 2012 that it flew the first test of its New Shepard suborbital spaceflight system, which was a test of the company’s pad escape system. 

Three years later, the company conducted the first full test of the New Shepard system. The rocket launched successfully, and the capsule separated and landed safely, but the booster rocket crashed and was destroyed. A few months later in November 2015, a second test flight of New Shepard successfully launched and the booster landed safely—the first time a rocket had been to space and landed back on Earth. Blue Origin made history again a few months later in January 2016 by launching and landing the same rocket that had launched the previous November. All in all, the New Shepard system had 15 test flights prior to the crewed launch, and the rocket and capsule that launched Tuesday had two previous successful flights.

In June 2021, Bezos announced that he was going to fly to space personally, joined by his brother, Mark. On July 1, the company announced that Funk would be joining the flight. The fourth passenger was originally intended to be the winner of an auction for that seat, which an anonymous person won with a bid of $28 million. Last week, however, the company announced the auction winner would not join the flight, with their slot filled by 18 year-old Oliver Daeman, who will be the company’s first paying customer to go to space.

Tuesday’s flight launched a few minutes later than planned at at 8:12 am CDT from the company’s launch test site located near Van Horn, Texas. A few minutes after the launch, the capsule successfully separated from the booster rocket, sending the crew on a 10-minute flight into space that reached its apogee over 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

While in space, the crew of the capsule were able to unbuckle and enjoy a period of weightlessness, with Wally Funk energetically performing a somersault on board. After those few moments, the crew then got back in their seats and buckled back up as the capsule began its descent. The capsule landed safely at 8:24am, with its crew disembarking just a few minutes later. 

During the flight, Blue Origin’s mission control asked each astronaut their status as they buckled back in. Bezos’ was pretty simple: “Happy, happy, happy!” he shouted.

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