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Jeff Bezos' Company Blue Origin Sends 90-Year-Old Tourist to Space

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Photo: Jeff Bezos' Company Blue Origin Sends 90-Year-Old Tourist to Space. Source: Blue Origin
Photo: Jeff Bezos' Company Blue Origin Sends 90-Year-Old Tourist to Space. Source: Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos' private space company Blue Origin successfully launched six passengers into space, including a 90-year-old former pilot and astronaut candidate, aboard its New Shepard rocket. This flight marks Blue Origin's first mission in nearly two years, CNN reports.

The suborbital rocket with its passenger capsule lifted off from Blue Origin's launch site on 19 May at 16:30 Central European Time. The rocket carried the capsule beyond the Karman line, which is located 100 kilometers above Earth's surface and is commonly recognized as the boundary of space. At the peak of the flight, the passengers experienced a few minutes of weightlessness and observed Earth through the capsule's windows.

The six space tourists on board were:

  • Sylvain Chiron, founder of the French craft brewery Brasserie Mont-Blanc;
  • Venture capitalist Mason Engel;
  • Software engineer and entrepreneur Kenneth Hess;
  • Retired accountant and traveller Carol Schaller;
  • Aviator Gopi Thotakura, who became the first Indian-born space tourist;
  • Ed Dwight, a 90-year-old retired US Air Force captain, who was chosen by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the first black astronaut candidate in US history.

In the 1960s, Ed Dwight completed training at the Aerospace Research Pilot School and received a recommendation from the Air Force, but was ultimately not accepted into NASA's astronaut corps. He later retired from military service and became an entrepreneur and sculptor.

"I thought I wouldn't need this in my life. But I was wrong. This was a very necessary experience. It is a life-changing event," Dwight said about his flight.

At the age of 90, he reached space, becoming the oldest person to achieve such an altitude, surpassing the previous record held by William Shatner.

Additionally, The Gaze reported that NASA has appointed its first-ever top manager for artificial intelligence. David Salvanini will take on the new role of Director of Artificial Intelligence while continuing his current position as Director of Data Operations. Salvanini's primary task will be the responsible use of AI in space and on Earth, in line with US President Joe Biden's directive for the safe, reliable, and trustworthy development and use of artificial intelligence.

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