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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has officially launched into space on his ship, New shepherd.
Bezos took off today, July 20, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship built by the multibillionaire’s aerospace company, Blue Origin.
Onboard the ship alongside Bezos is his brother Mark, 82-year-old Wally Funk, and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student. Daemen reportedly replaced a mystery auction winner who paid £20 million for a seat.
The launch at Launch Site One, Texas, took place soon after 9.00am ET (2.12pm UK time).
See the moment they took off here:
The capsule the four passengers are in will separate from its booster around 76km (250,000ft) up in the air. The rocket will then land around two miles away from the launch pad, according to BBC News.
It will take around 11 minutes for New Shepherd to reach its goal of 106km off the ground, giving them the panoramic views of Earth the team is hoping for.
At maximum descent, the four passengers will experience zero gravity, where they’ll stay for around four minutes. It’s during this time that the Bezos brothers, Funk and Daemen will be able to leave their seats and float around for a while.
Once the New Shepherd hits 106km, it will begin its descent and will eventually parachute down to a soft landing in the desert.
Speaking about the flight prior to today, Bezos insisted that he wasn’t nervous. He told CBS News, ‘I’m excited. People keep asking me if I’m nervous. I’m not really nervous, I’m curious. I want to know what we’re going to learn.’
‘We’ve been training. This vehicle’s ready, this crew is ready, this team is amazing. We just feel really good about it,’ he added.
Aviation pioneer Funk echoed Bezos’s comments and said ‘none of us are nervous’. Funk was one member of a group of 13 American women who underwent the same screening tests as male astronauts in 1959, but were never actually give the opportunity to fly into space.
She also expressed her excitement of experiencing zero gravity. Funk said, ‘When I’m up in space and able to do somersaults and tumble and do anything that I’ve wanted to do.’
Today’s flight comes after hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition calling for Bezos to not be allowed to return to Earth after the flight.
Part of the petition reads, ‘The recent billionaire space odyssey competition is a slap in the face to working class folks struggling paycheck to paycheck just to survive. Whether they are struggling with food insecurity, healthcare, shelter, or access to clean water, these issues have a price tag that isn’t quite as unfathomable as the idle billionaires, corporate lobbyists, and Washington bureaucrats would have you believe.’
‘Billionaires and corporations should pay their fair share. Until then, Jeff Bezos can stay in space until he finds which intergalactic asteroid core contains his compassion and humanity,’ it added.
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