Bezos jets off in Blue Origin, alongside oldest and youngest people ever to go to space

Van Horn, Texas - It has been a busy month for space travel! Jeff Bezos' company, Blue Origin, successfully launched the New Shepherd rocket and capsule to space, taking the oldest and youngest people in history to the stars.

The rocket booster once it separated from the capsule and returned to earth
The rocket booster once it separated from the capsule and returned to earth  © IMAGO / Cover-Images

All went according to plan for Blue Origin's New Shepard booster rocket and capsule, as the four newly-minted astronauts successfully made the 11-minute journey to space, returning to land safely in the west Texas desert.

Starting off from Launch Site One in Van Horn, the crew included 57-year-old Jeff Bezos himself, his 53-year-old brother, Mark, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old aviation legend, Wally Funk.

Daemen became the youngest person in history to reach space with this flight, and Funk the oldest. Funk's presence in the capsule is perhaps the most remarkable, as she even trained to join the astronaut corps but was not allowed during a time of gender-exclusion in the 1960s.

Funk has logged over 19,600 flight hours and holds "every license the FAA offers", and has trained more than 3,000 people to fly over the years. She was outright giddy in the pre-flight interviews when asked about the prospect of finally achieving her life-long dream.

The rocket lifted off at 9:00 AM EST, when the booster separated from the capsule which continued on to carry the novice crew to the edge of space. The booster return to Earth, where it made a very graceful landing on a launch pad.

The radio communications were full of ecstatic cheers from the Bezos brothers, Funk, and Daemon once the capsule reached apogee, or the highest point of their flight. "It's dark up here!" was a comment that made ground controllers laugh.

Wally Funk as a young pilot in the Air Force (archive image).
Wally Funk as a young pilot in the Air Force (archive image).  © IMAGO / Cover-Images

The crew capsule reached 105 miles in altitude before parachuting safely back to earth. Blue Origin has two more scheduled space flights for 2021.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Cover-Images

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