Billionaire No. 2 has completed his trip to space. Jeff Bezos and three passengers blasted off on Tuesday from Texas aboard a Blue Origin rocket and returned safely about 10 minutes later. The flight, another crucial test for space tourism, follows the feat of Richard Branson. As the AP notes, Bezos' Blue Origin flight was to reach an altitude of 66 miles, about 10 miles higher than Branson. That would give Bezos bragging rights of sorts by eclipsing what's known as the Karman Line, the international boundary of space 62 miles above the planet. Branson reached the US designation of space, which is slightly lower.
Also aboard: Bezos' younger brother, Mark; Wally Funk, one of 13 female pilots who went through the same testing back in the early 1960s as NASA's Mercury astronauts, but failed to make the cut because they were women; and Oliver Daemen, a college-bound student from the Netherlands whose father was among the unsuccessful bidders. The capsule is fully automated, so there was no need for trained staff on the flight. Branson's Virgin Galactic rocket plane needs two pilots to operate.
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