As the second multi-billionaire in less than two weeks, Jeff Bezos had his own space company launch him into space on Tuesday.

The founder of the online retailer Amazon and currently the richest person in the world flew into space on Tuesday with a rocket system from his second company Blue Origin.

The whole trip only lasted about ten minutes.

Bezos and the three other passengers took off shortly after nine o'clock in the morning local time with a few minutes delay from a launch pad in the Texas desert, were then able to experience weightlessness for a short time and finally landed safely on earth again.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

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"The best day ever," said Bezos after landing.

It was the first manned mission for Blue Origin.

It came nine days after British billionaire Richard Branson flew into space on a space glider from his company Virgin Galactic.

Branson has pre-empted Bezos, but the Amazon founder wrote history in a different way on Tuesday: unlike Branson, he had a paying customer on board and may have given the go-ahead for a new era of space tourism.

Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic plan to launch regular paying passengers into space from now on.

According to some analysts, such pleasure trips into space could become a billion-dollar market in the coming years.

Emblematic date chosen

Bezos had chosen a symbolic date for his flight, exactly 52 years after the moon landing as part of the Apollo 11 mission, arguably the most important milestone in American space travel. He also brought history to life by taking space pioneer Wally Funk on the flight. Funk was among a group of women who passed the difficult astronaut test program in the 1960s, but none of them ended up in space. At the age of 82, Funk became the oldest person ever to go into space on Tuesday.

The youngest person to date, the 18-year-old Dutch student Oliver Daemen, was also on board. He is the first paying customer, his father, an investor, bought the ticket for him. He came a little unexpectedly to the flight at the side with Bezos. The seat was auctioned off as part of an auction, the proceeds of which will benefit a Blue Origin foundation. The winning bid was $ 28 million, but last week the company announced that the relevant - and so far unidentified - person had to cancel because of a "scheduling conflict". Instead, Daemen moved in, who also took part in the auction with his father and should actually only be there on the second flight. The fourth passenger on Tuesday was Bezos' younger brother Mark.

Blue Origin brought its travelers into space in a very different way than Virgin Galactic did. The passengers sat in a space capsule that was carried into space by a recyclable rocket. The capsule then detached from the rocket, passengers could take off their belts and feel weightlessness. The rocket and capsule came back to Earth separately from each other. Virgin's space experience was more like a traditional flight and lasted about an hour, so a little longer. Branson and his fellow travelers were in a spacecraft that was brought to a certain altitude by a two-fuselage aircraft before going on his own. The Virgin passengers were also able to feel weightlessness for a few minutes. Blue Origin's flight went as far as the Kármán Line,which is a hundred kilometers above sea level and is often described as the boundary between the earth's atmosphere and space. Virgins flight remained a few kilometers below, which is why Blue Origin sparked discussions whether this really should be counted as a space experience. However, at least American aviation authorities also define Virgin's altitude as space.

Tourists in space have existed before, even to a destination much further away. Between 2001 and 2009, a total of seven people flew in Russian Soyuz planes to the ISS space station, which is 400 kilometers from Earth. The idea behind Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic's suborbital flights, however, is to offer trips that are affordable for a wider audience and thus make space tourism a real industry.

Tickets are still not cheap: Virgin Galactic has asked for up to $ 250,000 so far and said the price could go up because of the limited supply. In the longer term, the company plans to offer space flights for $ 40,000. Virgin says it has 600 reservations, the flights so far were still officially tests, and paying customers should travel with them from next year. Blue Origin has not yet announced a price for the tickets. After the flight with Bezos on Tuesday, two more trips with passengers are planned this year.

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