During a summer that’s been marred by severe weather around the globe, spurred by the increasingly drastic effects of climate change, Bezos boarded a spacecraft built by his own rocket company, Blue Origin, which launched him about 60 miles into the sky. As The Guardian recently reported, such launches spew huge amounts of heat and gas into the atmosphere, and while they pale in comparison to the carbon emissions created by the airline industry, rockets are unique in that they emit directly into the upper atmosphere, so the emissions linger longer than usual, about two to three years. And while the Blue Origin rocket burns a comparatively “clean” mix of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that emits steam, even water shot directly into the atmosphere can have a warming impact.
“Best day ever,” Bezos said after his flight, according to The New York Times.
Bezos and his three fellow crew members made their flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepherd rocket and capsule (it was named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space). Following the launch, the capsule, which appeared at the tip of the ship, detached from the rocket shaft after the booster had expelled all of its propellant. Bezos and his three fellow crew members spent about 11 minutes in space and were able to float around and experience zero gravity during a few minutes of free fall, before the official descent.
Bezos — who made his billions on the backs of workers who allegedly were not adequately protected during the Covid-19 pandemic and who have resorted to urinating in bottles to meet productivity demands — is the second billionaire to launch himself into space this month, following Richard Branson.
“I … want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this,” Bezos said during a press conference after his trip. “So seriously, for every Amazon customer out there, and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, very much. It’s very appreciated.”