Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Jeff Bezos Successfully Reaches the Edge of Space

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
Journalist. Reach me at

Amazon, Blue Origin founder and richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, blasted off towards the edge of space in his own rocket, the ‘New Shepard’.

Bezos has been competing with fellow billionaire Richard Branson, who flew into space aboard his Virgin Galactic rocket on 11 July, beating Bezos by about a week. Bezos’ own journey into space was accompanied by his brother Mark, and both the oldest and youngest people to ever fly to space – Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen, respectively.

Funk, a career aviator with thousands of flights under her belt, was barred from becoming an astronaut in the 1960s since, at the time, NASA’s corps of astronauts had to all be male.

The four-person crew lifted off from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site at 15:12 CAT.

According to CBS News, the rocket weighed in excess of 49,895 KGs and blitzed through the atmosphere upon its load of supercold liquid oxygen and hydrogen propellants. The crew within the capsule would have been held back into their seats at about three times the normal force of gravity during take off.

The spacecraft shot skywards, reaching 48 KMs in a little more than two minutes. At around 72KMs a few seconds later, Blue Origin’s BE-3 main engine shut down, and the crew capsule was released to fly across the edge of space on its own. The BE-3 booster would make a picture-perfect landing back to Earth.

In total, Bezos and the crew enjoyed about three minutes of weightlessness. The crew began unstrapping and enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime ride. There may have even been a little Skittles action.

The crew capsule, named ‘First Step’ after Neil Armstrong’s historic statement, reached a maximum altitude of 107 KMs above the Earth, surpassing the imaginary boundary between the planet’s atmosphere and the cold of space by a few kilometres.

Branson’s Virgin Galactic spacecraft flies at about 16 KMs lower than Bezos’, but still well above the altitude recognized by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration as the point where wings, rudders and other aero surfaces no longer have any effect.

Soon, the capsule began lurching back towards Earth and the crew strapped themselves in once again.  At an altitude of about 822 meters, three large parachutes unfurled and inflated slowing the capsule’s descent.

Just before touching the ground, at around 2 meters, the capsule’s nitrogen-powered thrusters fired allowing the capsule to gently touch the Earth.

“Welcome back to Earth, First Step, congratulations to all of you,” radioed Blue Origin capsule communicator, or CAPCOM, Sarah Knights.

“Very happy group of people in this capsule,” Bezos replied. “We’re so grateful to everybody who made this possible. Thank you.”

By Luis Monzon
Follow Luis Monzon on Twitter
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