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Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen reach space, return safely on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket

Blue Origin's founder Jeff Bezos, along with his younger brother Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen were passengers on the July 20 launch. (Video: Blue Origin)

VAN HORN, Tex. — Jeff Bezos rocketed past the edge of space Tuesday, launching from the improbable spaceport he has built in the West Texas desert here and fulfilling the lifelong dream of a die-hard Trekkie who was transfixed by the Apollo 11 moon landing and has pledged to use his fortune to open space for the masses.

Lifting off at 9:12 a.m. Eastern time, the New Shepard rocket that Bezos’s Blue Origin space venture has been developing for years carried one of the most unusual astronaut crews ever to depart Earth. In addition to Bezos, on board the capsule were Bezos’s brother, Mark; Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer, and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student from the Netherlands who lucked into the flight when the winner of an auction for the fourth seat had to postpone. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)