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Jeff Bezos and three passengers reached the edge of space and safely returned after a flight of just over 10 minutes.
- The Amazon.com Inc. founder and his fellow passengers were launched to the edge of space from a remote West Texas site on the New Shepard and enjoyed a few minutes of weightlessness aboard the rocket-powered spacecraft developed by his company Blue Origin LLC.
- Space flight was Blue Origin’s first with passengers on board.
- By ferrying the four passengers to an altitude of more than 62 miles and getting them back to Earth on the craft, Blue Origin demonstrated some of the engineering and rocketry prowess it has been developing.
- Risks: Space flights are risky, and the vehicles that companies have designed to ferry humans to space have been tested a fraction of the number of times that are typical for commercial planes.
- The flight was timed to coincide with the date in 1969 when the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon.
Growth of space flight sector
Space flight has long been dominated by government agencies. However, more companies are working to position themselves for a sector that some analysts believe may grow rapidly in the coming decades in parallel with technological advances. Morgan Stanley has estimated that space-related revenue could triple to more than $1 trillion by 2040.
- On July 11, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and five others undertook a trip to the “edge of space”, and reached an altitude of 85 km from Earth before returning. Such a trip is called a Suborbital Flight.
- Later this year, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, plans to take four commercial passengers into orbit on one of the company’s Crew Dragon capsules. SpaceX also has been completing launches for commercial customers and government agencies.