Jeff Bezos on Tuesday offered a heartfelt thank you to Amazon employees and customers after his record-setting trip into space — noting that they “paid for all of this.”
The 57-year-old Amazon founder told reporters after returning from his trip to the edge of space, “I… want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this. “
“So seriously, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart, to every Amazon customer, and to every Amazon employee. It’s so commendable.”
Bezos received his wings at a ceremony after returning from his company Blue Origin’s first commercial flight, which took off from West Texas at around 9:12 a.m. Tuesday.
“The atmosphere is so big. But when you rise above it, you see it’s a tiny little delicate thing,” he said of out-of-this-world travel.
“It’s so deep. It’s one thing to recognize it intellectually. It’s quite another to really see with your own eyes how delicate it really is and it was amazing,” he continued.
When asked how it felt to complete the mission, Bezos said, “Oh my god!’
“My expectations were very high and they were exceeded dramatically,” he said, adding that he was surprised by “how normal” it felt in a zero-gravity environment.
“It almost felt like we as humans evolved in an environment that I know is impossible,” he said.
Bezos was accompanied by his 53-year-old younger brother, Mark Bezos, on the New Shepard rocket, whom he called “the funniest person to visit in space” and surprised him by inviting him on the trip.
“It was just a tremendous amount for me… to be there to celebrate the come true of a lifelong dream,” Mark told MSNBC.
The Bezos brothers were also joined in the journey by recent high school graduate Oliver Damon, 18, and space pioneer Wally Funk, 82.
Damon, the company’s first paying customer, and Funk made history as the youngest and oldest person to travel to space.
Funk said, “I’ve been waiting a long time to finally get there and I’ve done a lot of astronaut training through the world, Russia, America, and I can always beat people up what they were doing.” ” She was one of 13 female pilots who conducted tests similar to NASA’s all-male astronaut corps in the early 1960s, but did not have the opportunity to go into space until Tuesday.
The mission lasted about 10 minutes and 20 seconds, taking the crew of four about 66.5 miles above Earth and allowing them to experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
“Big things start small. I told this crew when we came in today and we were sitting there on the pad, waiting to get up… I said, ‘Guys, if you’re ready, I’ll take you I invite you, when we get there, all kinds of adrenaline, all kinds of excitement, all kinds of novelty, but take a minute,'” Bezos said.
“Take a few seconds and calmly think about what we’re doing. It’s not only an adventure… it’s also important because what we’re doing is the first step to something bigger.”
The flight came nine days after another billionaire, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson, took off from New Mexico in a rocket from his competing space travel company.
At a post-travel press conference, Bezos awarded $100 million each to political commentator Van Jones and chef Jose Andres, directing them to give it to charities and nonprofits of their choice.
Bezos said the award is meant to recognize “leaders who aim high, and who pursue solutions with courage, and who always do so with decency.”