Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, on Tuesday completed a space trip in his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle.
The American billionaire flew from a desert site in West Texas on an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space nine days after British rival Richard Branson was aboard his competing space tourism company Virgin Galactic’s successful inaugural suborbital flight from New Mexico.
Branson got to space first, but Bezos is flew higher – 62 miles (100 km) for Blue Origin compared to 53 miles (86 km) for Virgin Galactic – in what experts call the world’s first unpiloted space flight with an all-civilian crew.
Bezos, founder of ecommerce juggernaut Amazon.com Inc, and his brother and private equity executive Mark Bezos was joined in the flight by two others- pioneering female aviator Wally Funk, 82 and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen, 18.
Funk was one of the so-called Mercury 13 group of women who trained to become NASA astronauts in the early 1960s but was passed over because of her gender. Daemen, Blue Origin’s first paying customer, is set to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management in September. His father heads investment management firm Somerset Capital Partners.
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