Fresh from his exciting rocket trip to the edge of space, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos spoke to the press about his company’s first crewed mission 21 years after its founding.
The 10-minute experience saw Bezos and his three crewmates enjoy amazing views from Earth more than 62 miles up, along with a short period of weightlessness where they were able to float about inside the capsule. They also paved the way for Blue Origin’s space tourism service, in which high-paying customers will be able to enjoy the same experience.
Still buzzing from the trip of a lifetime, Bezos, currently rated as the richest person in the world with a net worth of $205 billion, made a point to thank workers and customers of the e-commerce company that he launched in his garage in Bellevue, Washington, way back in 1994.
“I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this,” the billionaire businessman said, prompting a ripple of laughter in the audience. “So, seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart very much.”
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For warehouse workers past and present who’ve featured in one of the many news reports over the years about harsh working conditions at the online shopping giant, such an acknowledgment will likely rankle, but there’s no question about people’s love for online shopping and associated services offered by Amazon through its popular Prime service that have generated the huge revenues that helped Bezos to become the richest person in the world. “Customers” will also cover those paying to use Amazon Web Services too, the growing cloud services business that launched in 2006 and powers the online operations of many businesses big and small.
Bezos, who earlier this month stepped down as CEO of Amazon to focus more on other projects such as his Blue Origin venture, revealed in April that Amazon has around 200 million Prime subscribers globally, an increase of 50 million over the preceding 12 months, with everyone paying an annual fee for extra services that include expedited shipping of ordered items.
During his post-flight press conference, Bezos also thanked “all of the engineers at Blue Origin who have toiled hard to get this done,” as well as everyone who helped to build the New Shepard rocket that took him to space.
He also gave a nod to the people of Van Horn, the “small and amazing little town” close to the launch site in West Texas.
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