CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Jeff Bezos’ rocket company has gotten government approval to launch people into space, himself included.
On Sunday, Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder Richard Branson rode his own rocket plane to space, accompanied by five company employees. A specially designed aircraft carried the winged ship aloft over New Mexico. The space plane dropped away, fired its rocket motor and soared to 53.5 miles (86 kilometers), before gliding to a runway touchdown.
Blue Origin’s flight — featuring an automated capsule launched atop a reusable booster — should reach a maximum altitude of roughly 66 miles (106 kilometers) before parachuting into the desert.
Joining Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic in the chase for space tourists is Elon Musk's SpaceX. But SpaceX plans to send its customers into orbit, not on brief up-and-down hops. Musk has yet to commit to a launch himself.
Bezos, 57, stepped down last week as Amazon's CEO. He founded Blue Origin in 2000.
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