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Blue Origin completes its first crewed spaceflight with Bezos onboard

·Associate Editor
·1-min read

Blue Origin just joined the ranks of private companies that have taken people to space. Jeff Bezos' outfit has successfully completed its first crewed spaceflight, taking Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk and paying customer Oliver Daemen beyond the Kárman line (62 miles above Earth) before their capsule returned to the desert. The New Shepard rocket also touched down in what appeared to be a picture-perfect landing.

The flight broke multiple records. It included both the oldest-ever astronaut (Funk, 82 years old) and the youngest (Daemen, 18 years old). And while Virgin Galactic did enter space first by NASA's definition, Blue Origin was more than a little keen to point out that its flight was the only one of the two to cross the Kárman line.

SpaceX was the first of these companies to take people to space through its Crew-1 mission, although it won't fly an all-civilian crew until later this year. Its space tourism plans so far focus on trips around the Moon, although those aren't expected to start until 2023.

The flight clearly involved a large share of bragging rights — it's yet another instance of a billionaire paying his way into space and marketing his space tourism business. It did represent an important transition for Blue Origin to commercial service after years of uncrewed test flights, though. More importantly, it showed that private human spaceflight is becoming increasingly common. Blue Origin, Virgin and SpaceX were just the vanguards. It's now just a question of how quickly the industry grows.

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