Blue Origin’s tourism rocket, after a hiatus of nearly two years due to a failed uncrewed test flight, has successfully launched passengers to the edge of space, marking a significant milestone in space exploration.

The New Shepard rocket and capsule lifted off at 9:36 a.m. CT (10:36 a.m. ET) from the Texas Space Cowboy, Jeff Bezos facilities on a private ranch in West Texas.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Ed Dwight, a retired US Air Force captain President John F. Kennedy selected in 1961 as the nation’s first Black astronaut candidate, finally made the trip to space.

Despite completing training at the Aerospace Research Pilot School and receiving an Air Force recommendation, Dwight didn’t make the NASA Astronaut Corps.

He became an entrepreneur and a sculptor; a new National Geographic documentary on Black astronauts, “The Space Race,” highlights Dwight’s pioneering story.

Blue Origin
Blue Origin

“I had no intention of being an astronaut. That was the last thing on my bucket list,” Dwight said in the documentary. “But once I was given the challenge, then everything changed.”

According to a spokesperson from Blue Origin, Dwight completed that challenge and reached the edge of space at the age of 90, making him the oldest person to venture to such heights.

“I thought I didn’t need it in my life,” “But I lied. I did need it.”

“It’s a life-changing experience,” he said. “Everybody needs to do this.”

During the mission, the crew soared to more than three times the speed of sound or more than 2,000 miles per hour. The rocket vaulted the capsule past the Kármán line, an area 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth’s surface that is widely recognized as the altitude at which outer space begins — but there’s a lot of gray area.


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