Blue Origin launches first crew to space since 2022 grounding

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STORY: Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin launched a six-person crew to the edge of space on Sunday…

resuming its space tourism business for the first time since its New Shepard suborbital rocket was grounded in 2022.

The crew included Ed Dwight, the U.S.’s first Black astronaut candidate in the 1960s, but who until now had never flown to space.

He also became the oldest person in space at 90-years-old and eight months, surpassing actor William Shatner who was 90-years-old and six months at the time of his Blue Origin flight.

The crew were launched in a gumdrop-shaped capsule atop a rocket from the Blue Origin facilities near Van Horn, Texas.

The rocket separated from the capsule, which then ascended more than 65 miles beyond the boundary of the Earth’s atmosphere.

It returned to Earth under parachutes, capping a mission lasting roughly 10 minutes.

One of the capsule’s three parachutes did not fully inflate, a hitch that may draw scrutiny before the next mission.

The grounding of New Shepard, Blue Origin's only active rocket, came after a mid-flight failure in September 2022 during an uncrewed research mission.

After implementing changes mandated by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the New Shepard returned to flight in December 2023 with an uncrewed mission.

The FAA did not immediately respond to questions about the New Shepard capsule's parachute and whether the agency would investigate.

A Blue Origin spokesperson said the crew capsule is "designed to safely land with one parachute" and called the mission an overall success.