Jeff Bezos created history on Tuesday when he successfully travelled to the edge of space and returned in the spacecraft developed by his company, Blue Origin. Over two decades after Bezos established the space company, he was accompanied by a crew of three others in the New Shepard spacecraft on his maiden journey to space. After the flight that lasted roughly 10 minutes, the capsule landed in West Texas at about 8:22 a.m. local time. The spacecraft made its way the Karman line — considered to be the edge of space — at an altitude of 100 kilometres above the Earth.
At the end of the journey, Bezos simply said: “best day ever!” He then added, “My expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded.”
The billionaire was accompanied on the flight by his 53-year-old brother, Mark Bezos, 82-year-old former pilot Wally Funk, as well as an 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. The crew held the distinction of having the world's richest, the world's oldest and the world's youngest persons to have visited space.
Upon hitting zero gravity, the crew was seen floating within the capsule, celebrating the experience. In awe of what she was witnessing, Funk said, “Oh my word, look at the world!” presumably looking out the window at Earth below. But it was Bezos who had viewers in splits when he was heard asking the crew, “Who wants a Skittle?”
In his first interview upon landing, Bezos said, “I am not talented enough to describe this in words,” adding that it was “beyond” what he dreamt the Earth would look like. At a loss of words to describe the spectacle he had witnessed, Bezos said, “Maybe we need to send a poet up or something. Someone who would be better at describing it.”
Speaking after the flight, Bezos said that he wanted to thank the employees and customers of Amazon, the company he founded. The former Amazon CEO said, “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this. So, to every Amazon customer out there and every Amazon employee thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
When asked to sum up the experience, Bezos exclaimed, “Oh my god!” He also added that the zero-gravity experience felt “normal… so serene and peaceful… a very pleasurable experience.” He said that the most profound part of the experience was watching the Earth and that the “fragility” of the planet surprised him.
On being asked why he was investing such money in space, Bezos said, “What we are doing is building a road to space so future generations can build a future.” The aim was to “slowly over decades, to move all heavy industries and polluting industries to space to keep the planet the gem that it is.”