Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, blasted into space on Tuesday in the New Shepard rocket ship and landed safely in West Texas 10 minutes later.
Bezos, the 57-year-old owner of The Washington Post and the former CEO of Amazon, was joined by three other blue-suited crew members on the flight: his younger brother Mark Bezos, 53; American female aviation pioneer Wally Funk, 82; and Dutch incoming college student Oliver Daemen, 18.
The New Shepard traveled to an altitude of roughly 66 miles above the Earth. Shortly after the capsule that carried the crew touched back down on the desert landscape of Van Horn, Texas, a smiling Bezos emerged in a cowboy hat and proceeded to spray an open bottle of champagne with a small crowd of family and friends.
Bezos is the second billionaire tech titan to blast off in his own spacecraft this month, following 71-year-old Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson’s historic trip to the edge of space aboard the SpaceShipTwo.
The two trips represent watershed moments for the future of space tourism, even as space policy experts and some congressional lawmakers have expressed concern about the lack of regulations surrounding the burgeoning industry.
Bezos’ takeoff on Tuesday came on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which saw U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first person to step foot on the lunar surface.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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