Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Takes 6 People On Joyride Into Space

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Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin successfully launched six tourists into space on its New Shepard spacecraft on Thursday, the aerospace company's fourth human spaceflight.

The spacecraft took the crew to an altitude of 100 kilometers above the surface of the planet to the Karaman Line, which is officially designated as the boundary from where space begins.

Unlike Blue Origin's first three commercial flights, with passenger rosters including "Star Trek" actor William Shatner, morning TV host Michael Strahan and even Bezos himself, nobody among the latest group of customers is that famous.

The astronaut manifest included: angel investor Marty Allen, real estate veteran Marc Hagle and his wife Sharon Hagle, entrepreneur and University of North Carolina professor Jim Kitchen, and George Nield, founder-president of Commercial Space Technologies. While these five passengers have likely paid millions to reserve a seat on the spacecraft, Garry Lai is flying for free.

Blue Origin said that the entire flight, from lift-off to touchdown, is expected to last just over 10 minutes. The crew will experience a few minutes of weightlessness at the very apex of their suborbital ride, which is around 350,000 feet (106,680 metres) high before their capsule falls back to Earth for a parachute landing on the desert floor.

"Congratulations to our astronauts on today's mission above the Kármán Line," said Phil Joyce, Senior Vice President of New Shepard for Blue Origin. "We had the honor of safely flying this crew of six - each person with their own story of mentorship and passion for human spaceflight. We're looking forward to many more flights this year, and we're grateful to our astronaut customers for their trust in this amazing team."

The company on Monday had postponed the launch of the NS-20 mission to March 31 due to forecasts of high winds during the launch and recovery of the spacecraft. Blue Origin said the vehicle has met all mission requirements for flight and the weather is the only factor stalling the launch.

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