World’s richest man, rides his own rocket to space

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Jeff Bezos blasted into space on Tues-day on his rocket company’s first flight with people on board, becoming the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own space-craft.

The Amazon founder was accom-panied by a hand-picked group: his brother, an 18-year-old from the Nether-lands and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer from Texas — the youngest and oldest to ever fly in space.

Named after America’s first as-tronaut, Blue Ori-gin’s New Shepard rocket soared from remote West Texas on the 52nd anniver-sary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, a date chosen by Bezos for its historical signifi-cance.

He held fast to it, even as Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson pushed up his own flight from New Mexico in the race for space tourist dollars and beat him to space by nine days.

Unlike Bran-son’s piloted rocket plane, Bezos’ cap-sule was completely automated and required no official staff on board for the anticipated 10-minute, up-and-down flight.—Agencies

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