Jeff Bezos on Tuesday shared a video of the moment he and his three other companions onboard Blue Origin's New Shepard realized they are in space.
In the video, Bezos, his brother Mark, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old Wally Funk can be seen unbuckling their seatbelts and hovering inside the space capsule.
Video from Jeff Bezos' Instagram page
"This is how it starts," Bezos wrote in the caption.
Bezos, the world's richest man, and his companions soared about 107 kilometers above the Texas desert aboard his company Blue Origin's New Shepard launch vehicle on Tuesday and returned safely to Earth, a historic suborbital flight that helps to inaugurate a new era of private commercial space tourism.
The trip to the edge of space lasted for 10 minutes and 10 seconds.
The founder of ecommerce company Amazon.com Inc, and his brother Mark Bezos, a private equity executive, were joined by two others. Pioneering female aviator Funk and recent high school graduate Daemen became the oldest and youngest people to reach space.
Bezos, who founded Blue Origin two decades ago, described the company's first crewed space flight as a step toward an ambitious future. Blue Origin plans for two more passenger flights this year. Bezos said it has not determined its future pace of flights after that but said it is approaching $100 million in private sales.
Bezos said the "most profound" aspect of his brief journey to space was the spectacular view he saw of Earth, which left him amazed by its beauty and fragility.
"Every astronaut who's been up into space, they say that it changes them ... they look at it and they're kind of amazed and awestruck by the Earth and its beauty, but also by its fragility, and I can vouch for that," he told reporters after Blue Origin's first crewed flight.
He added that while the atmosphere appeared to be "so big" from the surface, when you get above it "you see is it's actually incredibly thin, it's this tiny little fragile thing, and as we move about the planet we're damaging it.
"It's one thing to recognize that intellectually, it's another thing to actually see with your own eyes."
The company released footage of the newly minted astronauts performing somersaults in near zero gravity and throwing Skittles which Dutch teen Oliver Daemen caught in his mouth.
"We had a great time, it was wonderful," added Funk, who at 82 has become the oldest astronaut. "I want to go again -- fast!" she added.
The crew took a number of mementos with them for the 10-minute trip, including a piece of fabric from the Wright brothers' first plane, a bronze medallion made from the first hot air balloon flight in 1783, and a pair of goggles that belonged to Amelia Earhart.
Bezos praised the work of his engineering team and said the design architecture of the New Shepard rocket would eventually be used as the second stage of the much larger New Glenn rocket.
Asked if he would go again, he said: "Hell yes, how fast can we refuel that thing? Let's go." — With a report from Agence France-Presse