Amazon founder Jeff Bezos can now tick flying to space off his bucket list, after Blue Origin, the aerospace company that Bezos founded in 2000, completed its first crewed flight to space on Tuesday.
On board the New Shepard rocket, which has been in testing since 2015, Bezos was joined by his younger brother Mark Bezos, female aviator Wally Funk, and Oliver Daemen. The trip to space saw them fly pass the Kármán Line, the internationally recognised boundary of space.
"My expectations were high and dramatically exceeded … it felt so normal, it felt almost like humans had evolved to be in that environment … it felt so serene and peaceful … the most profound piece of it was looking out at the Earth's atmosphere," Bezos said, following the landing.
Bezos also took the opportunity to thank Amazon employees and customers.
"I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this," he said.
The Blue Origin flight was the second billionaire-crewed spaceflight in July. It was, however, initially marked to be the first until Richard Branson announced his aerospace company Virgin Galactic was preparing for its first crewed space flight. This was successfully completed just a week ago in the VSS Unity.
Other historic moments that were achieved because of the flight, according to Blue Origin, included Wally Funk, 82, becoming the oldest person to fly in space, as well as Oliver Daemen, 18, becoming the youngest person to fly in space and the "first-ever commercial astronaut to purchase a ticket and fly to space on a privately-funded and licensed space vehicle from a private launch site".
Blue Origin expects to fly two more crewed flights this year, with more in the pipeline for 2022.
"Today was a monumental day for Blue Origin and human spaceflight," Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said.
"I am so incredibly proud of Team Blue, their professionalism, and expertise in executing today's flight. This was a big step forward for us and is only the beginning."