Billionaire Jeff Bezos and three other passengers launched to suborbital space and back in Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket on July 20. Lift-off occurred from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. They travelled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth.
The capsule touched down after 10 minute and 10 seconds, with Jeff Bezos exclaiming that it’s the “best day ever!”. New Shepard, which is built by Bezos’ company Blue Origin, is designed to serve the market for space tourism. Many have critic the marketing plan, saying it’s offering “joy rides” for the super wealthy whereas the money could have been invested in pay rises or fighting climate change.
In respond to the criticism, Bezos said that he has an environmental vision: “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry and move it into space, and keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is,” he told MSNBC.
“It’s going to take decades and decades to achieve, but you have to start, and big things start with small steps… that’s what this sub-orbital tourism mission allows us to do, it allows us to practice over and over.”
At a post-launch press conference, Bezos said that his expectations were high and it has been dramatically exceeded. 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, that lies 100km up. The newly minted-astronauts shouted “wow!” and cheered.