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This morning, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos – and a winner of Liberty Science Center’s Genius Award – rocketed 60 miles from Texas to the edge of space!
This event marks another milestone in the commercial advancement of human spaceflight. Less than two weeks ago, Virgin Galactic owner Richard Branson became the first person to soar into space via his own rocket ship.
Bezos’ trip paid tribute to America’s legacy of human space flight. The space vehicle was named “New Shepard” after Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and occurred on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
The flight lifted off from the Blue Origin launch site in Van Horn, Texas. In a 10-minute flight, the crew passed the 62-mile boundary marking the edge of space. The capsule then descended gently to Earth, landing at 9:30 AM EDT.
This was the 15th flight for New Shepard. Jeff Bezos and his brother, Mark Bezos, were two of the crew members.
This trip to space was also historic in that the crew included the youngest person to go to space, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen from the Netherlands, and the oldest person, 82-year-old Mary Wallace Funk. Funk is a pilot who, in 1961, went through NASA’s Women in Space program (sometimes called “The Mercury 13”), which put a group of 13 women through the same intense training as the Mercury astronauts. This was her first flight to space.
Both Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have been honored at Liberty Science Center’s Genius Gala. Bezos was honored at Genius Gala 4.0 in 2015, while Branson was honored at Genius Gala 2.0 in 2013.