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Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark brought three aviation-related tokens with them as they flew with two other passengers to suborbital space on Tuesday morning, they revealed at a post-flight press conference:

  • A piece of canvas from the 1903 Wright Flyer, the world's first heavier-than-air flying machine.
  • A bronze medallion made from the first hot air balloon flight in 1783, the first time man flew on a controlled flight.
  • The goggles that Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean with in 1932.

What they're saying: "I like to think that if Amelia were here, she'd be very, very proud of Wally," Bezos said, referring to 82-year-old Wally Funk — now the oldest person ever to fly to space. "Thank you, Amelia, wherever you are. We hope you're watching all of this."

Bezos also revealed that he wore a Blue Origin feather necklace, which he gifted to his mother at the press conference.

Go deeper: Watch the full Blue Origin space flight

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Aug 31, 2021 - Science

A mission to space like no other

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The launch next month of the first all-civilian mission to orbit is an ambitious test for a burgeoning space industry's futuristic dream of sending many more ordinary people to space in the next few years.

Why it matters: Companies and nations envision millions of people living and working in space without having to become professional, government-backed astronauts. Those hopes are riding on SpaceX's next crewed mission, called Inspiration4.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 14, 2021 - Science

Wrestling with the risks of private missions to space

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew, launching to orbit this week, will force the space industry to contend with just how much risk ordinary people are willing to take on in order to build humanity's future in space.

Why it matters: The private space industry's goal of building an economy in space hinges on sending more people to orbit in the near future. But spaceflight is still an incredibly risky endeavor and it will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 16, 2021 - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 launches on 3-day mission in orbit

A screenshot of the rocket launching. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX's all-civilian Inspiration4 mission made history Wednesday night when it launched into orbit.

Why it matters: It's the first time a crew of amateurs has launched to orbit without a professional astronaut onboard. The mission also signals the start of a new era in space — one defined by an industry pushing to launch many more private people to orbit in the coming years.