Bezos’ firm flies thrill seekers to space

Bezos’ firm flies thrill seekers to space

WASHINGTON: After a rocket catastrophe put its crewed operations on hold, Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin resumed its mission of taking explorers to the last frontier on Sunday, sparking competition in the space tourism sector for the first time in over two years.
Around 10:36 a.m. local time on Sunday, six persons—including Black artist and former Air Force pilot Ed Dwight, who was controversially rejected by NASA’s astronaut corps in the 1960s—launched from the launch site in west Texas, according to a live broadcast.

At ninety-nine years, eight months, and ten days, Dwight beat out actor William Shatner, who launched with Blue Origin in 2021 and was about two months younger, to become the oldest person to travel into space.

The company, owned and created by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is celebrating its seventh human flight with Mission NS-25. Bezos views brief trips in the New Shepard suborbital aircraft as a springboard to bigger goals.

Before the launch, Dwight made a jest, saying, “I was the first guy in the world to be famous for not doing something.” “Suffice to say, I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

Blue Origin has launched 31 passengers onto New Shepard, a compact, totally reusable rocket system that bears the name of Alan Shepard, the first American in space, to date.

The program faced a setback earlier on September 12, 2022, when a New Shepard rocket caught fire soon after takeoff. The astronauts would have been safe if they had taken off because the unmanned spacecraft ejected on schedule.

The cause was identified by a government probe as an overheated engine nozzle. Blue Origin made the necessary adjustments and launched an unmanned vehicle successfully in December 2023, opening the door for Sunday’s operation.


The spacious and elegant capsule broke apart from the rocket after liftoff. With accuracy, the rocket made a vertical landing. Upon surpassing the Karman Line, the globally acknowledged border of space situated 100 kilometers above sea level, travelers were in awe at Earth’s curvature and had the opportunity to disengage their seat belts and experience a brief period of weightlessness.

After that, the capsule descended down onto Earth and used its parachutes to crash in a dust cloud in the desert. But one of the three parachutes did not fully extend, making the landing more difficult than anticipated.

In 2021, Bezos took part in the program’s inaugural crewed flight. Shatner rose to become the world’s oldest astronaut a few months later. Dwight made history by becoming the second non-agenarian to travel beyond Earth.

Though the cost of tickets is kept under wraps, visitors like Dwight are in free of charge.

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