MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Amazon founder and Palmetto Senior High School alumni Jeff Bezos made history after successfully launching into space.
After the flight, Bezos said it was just the beginning for private human space travel.
Floating on cloud nine more than 65 miles above Earth, the Blue Origins for civilian astronauts tossed ping pong balls and Skittles. For Bezos, it was the microgravity dream he first imagined as a five-year-old watching the Apollo 11 moon landing 52 years to the day.
Blue Origin’s rocket speed peaked at three times the speed of sound. Less than three minutes into the flight, the rocket and New Shepard capsule separated. For one of the most improbable space crews ever instant weightlessness lasting several minutes.
“It felt so normal and natural, almost like we were humans were evolved to be in zero G, which of course is impossible, but it felt that way,” said Jeff Bezos’ brother Mark who was on the flight.
Eight minutes into the flight, the reusable fully automated rocket landed vertically a couple of miles from its launch pad. About two minutes later, the capsule itself, three parachutes lowered it onto the west Texas desert. The thrill ride lasting all of 10 minutes and 10 seconds.
The Bezos brothers spoke with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King.
“I think people don’t understand that when you get into space, and you can see the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s so thin and fragile looking, so we do have to take care of this planet,” said Jeff Bezos.
They called this a bonding moment for the two of them.
“My brother and I, we picked seats so that we could see each other from our seats, so we could look over and we had we did, we had some we had some really good quality time there,” said Jeff Bezos.
“There was also a message that was read from our sister,” said Mark Bezos.
“I know, I have it,” said King
“Oh God, it was beautiful,” said Mark Bezos.
“She says ‘now hurry up and get your (expletive) back down here so I can give you a huge hug. We love you and Godspeed New Shepard,” said King reading from the message.
Jeff Bezos said he teared up in the capsule when reading his sister’s message.
Each crew member received astronaut wings including aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who was barred from NASA’s initially all-male astronaut corps in the 1960s. On Tuesday, she finally got her chance to prove the naysayers wrong and realized a lifelong dream.
“I want to thank you sweetheart because you made it possible for me,” she told Jeff Bezos.
Blue Origin already has two more flights planned for this year, taking tourists to the edge of space. Bezos said ticket sales have topped $100 million.
Bezos intends to use his Amazon wealth to build a new empire in space, competing for sub-orbital tourists with Virgin Galatic and Richard Branson, who reached space in a rocket-powered plane nine days ahead of Bezos.
In this age of space barons, Bezos plans to colonize the cosmos, launching people into space to live and work.