Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Jeff Bezos, 3 others land safely after flight to space with Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos and three other passengers took flight with his space company Blue Origin on Tuesday morning, launching high above West Texas.

Why it matters: It's Blue Origin's first human flight and a major technical milestone for the company as it focuses on bringing suborbital spaceflight to more people in the future.


What's happening: The company's New Shepard capsule and rocket took flight at 9:11 a.m. ET, lofting the capsule high above the desert and bringing the crew about 62 miles into the air before descending back to Earth under parachutes.

  • Bezos was joined by his brother Mark, the company's first paying customer 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and pioneering aviator Wally Funk, one of the women that passed the Mercury astronaut tests in the 1960s.
  • “It’s dark up here,” Funk was heard saying on the flight webcast before the crew came back down to Earth. “You have a very happy crew up here, I want you to know," Bezos said to mission control.
  • Funk is now the oldest person ever to fly to space and Daemen is the youngest.

How it works: The New Shepard is designed to autonomously send its passengers on a ride to space without the need for a pilot within the craft.

  • "We set out to design this vehicle for anybody — not professional astronauts — anybody with very little training, and that is a very hard problem," Gary Lai, the senior director of the New Shepard design team, said during the launch webcast. "And yes, we have succeeded and I would put my own kids on that vehicle."

The big picture: It's been a pretty wild suborbital summer.Bezos' flight comes after Richard Branson flew to suborbital space with his own company, Virgin Galactic.

  • The two companies are now working to start flying more paying customers to space and back again.
  • Yes, but: It's not clear how much of a market there is for these kinds of flights, and the two companies haven't yet revealed how much their tickets will cost for customers interested in purchasing.

4 ffp

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories