Watch: Jeff Bezos launches to edge of space on Blue Origin’s first human flight

Nine days after billionaire Richard Branson made history by becoming the first person to launch himself into space on his own Virgin Galactic plane, fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos did the same on a rocket from his company Blue Origin.

The 57-year-old Amazon founder, his brother and two others stepped into the New Shepard rocket in West Texas on Tuesday — the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The flight lasted just over 10 minutes, with the crew experiencing a few minutes of weightlessness before returning safely to earth.

“Best day ever,” Bezos said from the autonomous capsule after it landed.

Bezos was joined by his younger brother, Mark; Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, an 82-year-old female aviation pioneer; and Oliver Daemen, 18, the son of the chief executive of a private equity investment firm and one of the runners-up in a $28 million charitable auction for the mission’s final seat. (The actual winner, who remains anonymous for now, had a “scheduling conflict” and will go on a later flight.)

The suborbital flight included the youngest (Daemen), oldest (Funk) and richest (Bezos) people ever to reach space.

, Watch: Jeff Bezos launches to edge of space on Blue Origin’s first human flight, The Nzuchi Times News, Watch: Jeff Bezos launches to edge of space on Blue Origin’s first human flight, The Nzuchi Times News

The New Shepard Blue Origin rocket lifts off from the launch pad carrying Jeff Bezos in Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

They climbed to an altitude of 351,210 feet, past the so-called Kármán line (62 miles above Earth) which is recognized by some international aviation and aerospace experts as the threshold of space. 

, Watch: Jeff Bezos launches to edge of space on Blue Origin’s first human flight, The Nzuchi Times News

Family members greeted the crew on the ground after they stepped out of the capsule for a champagne toast at about 8:30 a.m. local time.

It was the first launch with passengers for Blue Origin, which — like Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk’s SpaceX — plans to start flying paying customers in the months ahead.

“We are open for ticket sales to send all of you to space,” Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin’s sales director, told viewers watching the livestream of the company’s historic launch.

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