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Jeff Bezos Blasts Off to Space on Blue Origin’s First Manned Flight

Billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos blasted off to space in his company Blue Origin’s first manned flight on Tuesday, over a week after Richard Branson reached sub-orbital space in his own craft.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket launched on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, aiming to reach about 66 miles above the Earth’s surface. Also on board the rocket were Bezos’s brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who was initially scheduled to board Blue Origin’s second space flight.

The New Shepard is fully automated, meaning no trained crew is required for the flight. The entire flight lasted about ten minutes, with two and a half minutes to reach space and another several minutes in space. The capsule with passengers then reentered the atmosphere and deployed a parachute to land at the Earth’s surface.

“Best day ever!” Bezos said when the craft landed safely.

Earlier this month, Branson made his own flight to space in a spacecraft that detached from a Virgin Galactic plane. Branson scheduled the flight just nine days before Bezos, but insisted there was no rivalry between them.

“I know nobody will believe me when I say it, but honestly, there isn’t,” Branson told NBC’s Today show.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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