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Saturday June 22, 2024

Blue Origin flies thrill seekers to space, including oldest astronaut

By AFP
May 20, 2024
A passenger coming of the Blue origin capsule.— Blueorigin website/file
A passenger coming of the Blue origin capsule.— Blueorigin website/file 

WASHINGTON: After a nearly two year hiatus, Blue Origin flew adventurers to space on Sunday, including a former Air Force pilot who was denied the chance to be the United States´ first Black astronaut decades ago.

It was the first crewed launch for the enterprise owned and founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos since a rocket mishap in 2022 left rival Virgin Galactic as the sole operator in the fledgling suborbital tourism market.

Six people including the sculptor Ed Dwight, who was on track to become Nasa´s first ever astronaut of colour in the 1960s before being controversially spurned, launched around 09:36 am local time (1436 GMT) from the Launch Site One base in west Texas, a live feed showed.

Dwight -- at 90 years, 8 months and 10 days -- became the oldest person to ever go to space.

“This is a life-changing experience, everybody needs to do this,” he exclaimed after the flight.

“I thought I didn´t really need this in my life,” he added, reflecting on his omission from the astronaut corps, which was his first experience with failure as a young man. “But I lied,” he said with a hearty laugh.