Jeff Bezos goes to space

By Jackie Wattles, Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 4:24 PM ET, Tue July 20, 2021
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12:34 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

Bezos said Blue Origin is nearing $100M in private sales

Jeff Bezos said his space company Blue Origin is approaching $100 million in private sales.

"The demand is very, very high. So we're going to keep after that, because we really do want to practice with this vehicle. So we're going to have to build more boosters to fly more frequently, and we're going to be doing that and working on the operational things we need to do, all the the things we learned," he said.

After Bezos and crew completed their spaceflight today, Blue Origin announced it is open for ticket sales. Those interested in flying on a future Blue Origin flight were asked to send the company an email — but they did not divulge how much a ticket will cost. Blue Origin has not sold tickets to the general public yet.

Bezos said he is planning two more flights this year and more in the future.

Bezos compared this first spaceflight to him starting out with Amazon.

"What we're doing is the first step of something big. And I know what that feels like. I did it three decades ago, almost three decades ago, with Amazon. ... You can tell when you're onto something. And this is important. We're going to build a road to space so that our kids and their kids can build the future," Bezos said.

12:40 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

The New Shepard crew brought these two meaningful items to space

From CNN's Carma Hassan and Alyssa Kraus

Mark Bezos said the crew borrowed two meaningful items from The Explorers Club to take on their trip to space: a piece of canvas from the plane the Wright Brothers flew and a bronze medallion made from the first hot air balloon flight.

“We were able to fly with a piece of canvas from the Wright Flyer, so the plane that the Wright Brothers flew, we brought a piece of that canvas with us which was really powerful, as well as a bronze medallion that was made from the first hot air balloon flight in 1783, which was the first time man ever, you know, left the Earth in controlled flight so we were very thrilled to bring both of those along with us,” Mark Bezos said.

His brother, Jeff Bezos, quickly added that they brought those items back to Earth with them.

The Explorers Club supports research and scientific exploration of land, sea, air and space.

12:34 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

Bezos says he wants to make space travel accessible to everyone

Asked how do you bring the cost of space travel down over time so it's more accessible to everyone, Jeff Bezos said, "You've got to do it the same way we did it with commercial airline travel." 

He said that space travel is in the "barnstormer phase" right now.

"That's what we're doing right now. You know where that barnstorming phase leads? To 787s. And that's what we have to do," he said.

Bezos and his crew successfully completed a spaceflight earlier Tuesday. They were flying on the New Shepard, the rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin.

12:21 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

After his spaceflight, Jeff Bezos says the atmosphere is fragile 

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

Jeff Bezos said the most profound part about being in space was recognizing how fragile the Earth’s atmosphere is. 

“The atmosphere is so gigantic…but when you get up above it, what you see is, it’s actually incredibly thin, it’s this tiny, little fragile thing and as we move about the planet, we are damaging it,” he said. 

“It’s one thing to recognize that intellectually, it’s another thing to actually see with your own eyes how fragile it really is and that was amazing,” Bezos added.

12:43 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

"Who wants a Skittle?": Video from inside rocket shows minutes of weightlessness aboard New Shepard

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Video released and edited by Blue Origin shows a glimpse of what it was like inside the rocket ship during the about three minutes of weightlessness inside the capsule.

The passengers on the New Shepard — Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen — tossed balls and Skittles as they floated around.

One of them asks in the video, "Who wants a Skittle?"

"All right. See if you can catch this in your mouth," they say as the passengers float above Earth.

"I loved every minute of it," Funk said at a news conference after the capsule landed. "It was great. I loved it. I can hardly wait to go again."

"It felt way cooler than it looked," Daemen said.

WATCH THE MOMENT:

12:33 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

Jeff Bezos thanks Amazon customers and employees who "paid for all this"

From CNN's Alyssa Kraus

Jeff Bezos thanked Amazon employees and customers for funding Blue Origin's trip to space during a press conference today.

"I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer, 'cause you guys paid for all this. So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, very much. It's very appreciated."

Bezos' appreciation, however, comes after Amazon has been repeatedly accused of labor violations.

Bezos also thanked the engineers at Blue Origin for building the New Shepard, along with the town of Van Horn, Texas for allowing the company to utilize the area.

12:24 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

82-year-old Wally Funk on spaceflight: "I want to go again, fast"

Wally Funk, the 82-year-old pilot who is now the oldest person to travel to space, said she felt "great" during the Blue Origin spaceflight.

"I've been waiting a long time to finally get it up there, and I've done a lot of astronaut training through the world — Russia, America — and I could always beat the guys on what they were doing because I was always stronger and I've always done everything on my own," Funk said during the press conference.

She thanked Bezos and indicated that she's not slowing down any time soon.

"I want to go again, fast," she said.

"I loved every minute of it. I just wish it had been longer," Funk added.

WATCH WALLY FUNK:

12:25 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

New Shepard passengers presented with Blue Origin wings

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Each passenger aboard the New Shepard rocket was presented with Blue Origin's own wings to commemorate their trip.

Jeff Ashby, the senior director of safety and mission assurance and a former space shuttle commander, presented the pins to Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, and Oliver Daemen after the flight on Tuesday.

The pins are in the shape of the letter "A." The side pieces represent "the road to space and our feather logo is the crossbar," Ashby said.

"At the top, a tiny blue sapphire to remind these folks that they are from planet Earth and that they have a mission to protect this home," he added.

For context: It is important to note the pins are not Federal Aviation Administration commercial astronaut wings. The FAA awards wings to “crewmembers” but not “spaceflight participants." The passengers on the New Shepard were only in space for a few minutes, and coupled with Virgin Galactic's flight, it has led to debate on what exactly constitutes an "astronaut."

WATCH:

12:07 p.m. ET, July 20, 2021

Jeff Bezos says his expectations for the space flight "were dramatically exceeded"

Asked how it felt during the space flight, Jeff Bezos let out an excited "Oh my god!" at a press conference today.

"My expectations were high, and they were dramatically exceeded," he continued.

Bezos said that zero-G was a "big surprise" to him because "it felt so normal."

"It felt so — like, almost like we were as humans evolved to be in that environment. That's impossible, but it felt peaceful," he said.

He called it a "very pleasurable experience."