Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin Crew Discuss Their Experience in Space

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Jeff Bezos

traveled to the edge of space Tuesday, the first step in what he has called a broader vision to transform the cost of space travel and tap resources across the solar system.

Here are a few observations from the

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Amazon.

com founder and his fellow passengers—aviator Wally Funk, student Oliver Daemen and Mark Bezos, the co-founder of private-equity firm HighPost Capital and Jeff Bezos’ younger brother—from the news conference that followed the flight.

Why did Mr. Bezos do it?

“We’re going to build a road to space so our kids and their kids can build the future, and we need to do that to solve the problems here on Earth.”

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Blue Origin’s rocket carried four crew members.



Photo:

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Why does Mr. Bezos believe space flight is important for Earth?

“This is not about escaping Earth. This is the only good planet in the solar system. We’ve sent robotic probes to all of them. This is the only good one—I promise you—and we have to take care of it. If you go to space and see how fragile it is you’ll want to take care of it even more. That’s what this is about—and it’s going to take decades—this is a big vision—but big things start small.”

What role did Amazon play in the trip, according to Mr. Bezos?

“I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this. Seriously…Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

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How did Mr. Bezos find the trip?

“Oh my God! My expectations were high, and they were dramatically exceeded.”

Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos successfully completed the first manned mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft. In this video, WSJ looks back at the remarkable career of the world’s richest man. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

What did Mr. Bezos tell his crew members before the flight?

“Guys if you’re willing, let me invite you, when we get up there, there’s going to be all kinds of adrenaline, all kinds of excitement, novelty. Take a minute—take a few seconds––to look out and calmly think about what we’re doing… It is an adventure, it is fun––but it’s also important.”

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How did Earth look from space?

“It’s this tiny little fragile thing, and as we move about the planet, we’re damaging it. And, so that is…that’s very profound. It’s one thing to recognize it intellectually, it’s another thing to actually see with your own eyes how fragile it really is, and that was amazing.”

How did the other passengers fare?

Wally Funk: “I saw darkness, and I thought I was going to see the world but we weren’t quite high enough, and I felt great…I want to go again, fast.”

Oliver Daemen: “Everyone on the ground was way more emotional than we were. We were just having fun.”

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Mark Bezos: “They had told us what G-forces would be like on the way up, and it’s one of those things you hear about and anticipate, but you really feel it on the way up.”

Oliver Daemen, the youngest passenger, said: ‘Everyone on the ground was way more emotional than we were. We were just having fun.’



Photo:

blue origin/Reuters

How do you cut the cost of space flight?

“You’ve got to do it the same way we did it with commercial airline travel. We’re really almost in the barnstormer phase.…These are biplanes and they’re flying into a farmer’s field and charging a small price to fly people around for a few minutes in the air. That’s what we’re doing right now. But you know where that barnstormer phase leads? To 787s. And that’s what we have to do.”

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What did Mr. Bezos say about what’s next for Blue Origin?

“We’re approaching $100 million in private sales already, and the demand is very, very high.”

“We’re going to have to build more boosters to fly more frequently…and working on all the operational things we need to do, all the things we learn. What practice does is let you get better.”

What’s next for Mr. Bezos?

“I’m going to split my time between Blue Origin and the Bezos Earth Fund––the Bezos Earth Fund is about climate change and sustainability…and there’s going to be a third thing and maybe a fourth thing, but I don’t know what those are yet.”

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Write to Micah Maidenberg at [email protected] and Doug Cameron at [email protected]

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