The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos has become the second billionaire to reach space alongside 3 others with the successful launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight on Tuesday, 8 days after another billionaire, Richard Branson’s successful test flight of VSS Unity by Virgin Galactic alongside five other crew members.
This was disclosed in a live launch feed by Blue Origin on social media, on Tuesday. Blue Origin’s space expedition is coming exactly 52 years from the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
Crew members on the expedition include Wally Funk, 82, and the oldest person to fly to space; Oliver Daemen, 18, and the youngest person to go to space. Daemen is the son of an anonymous bidder who agreed to pay $28 million for a seat on the rocket ride. Also on the expedition was Jeff Bezos’ brother, Mark.
Bezos spends $1 billion a year to fund Blue Origin and has been slowly selling off his stake in Amazon.com Inc. to invest in his space project, according to Bloomberg.
Shortly before jetting out on the historic 11-minute expedition to the edge of space, Jeff Bezos said concerning comments from critics about the space missions being mere joyrides for the wealthy, who should instead, be spending their time, money and energy trying to solve problems here on Earth:
“Well, I say they’re largely right. We have to do both. You know, we have lots of problems here and now on Earth and we need to work on those, and we always need to look to the future. We’ve always done that as a species, as a civilization. We have to do both…. This mission is about “building a road to space for the next generations to do amazing things there, and those amazing things will solve problems here on Earth.”
Blue Origin in a statement via Twitter said, “Congratulations to all of Team Blue, past and present on reaching this historic moment in spaceflight history. This first astronaut crew wrote themselves into the history books of space, opening the door through which many after will pass.”
The businessman, Richard Branson became the first billionaire to reach space with the successful test flight of VSS Unity by Virgin Galactic alongside five other crew members.
Virgin Galactic’s commercial flights to space for wealthy passengers are billed to commence in 2022, with seats on the spacecraft likely to sell for more than $250,000 per passenger. So far, the company has a backlog of 600 confirmed passengers interested in an adventure to space.
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