Some astronauts bring chocolate to space. Jeff Bezos brought Skittles.
The billionaire founder of Amazon and Blue Origin played a game of catch with spaceflight companion Oliver Daemon during their brief jaunt in zero gravity on Tuesday.
“Who wants a Skittle?” Bezos asked. He then turned Daemon, the 18-year-old son of a private-equity executive: “See if you can catch this in your mouth.”
Daemon caught the Skittle while floating upside down.
“Yeah! Well done!” Bezos said. “Here, toss me one.”
The exchange occurs about 35 minutes and 30 seconds into the video below:
The Skittles Twitter account appreciated the highlight. “We are honored to have heard SKITTLES were aboard #BlueOrigin @JeffBezos is it true #SKITTLES taste better in space?” the company tweeted.
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Bezos and his companions took off for the edge of space at 8:12 a.m. CT on Tuesday from Blue Origin’s launch site in Texas.
Along with Daemon, Bezos was joined by his brother, Mark, and 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk, who trained to go to space in the 1960s but was ultimately denied the opportunity because she was a woman. Funk is now the oldest person to reach space. Daemon is the youngest.
The crew rode a New Shepard rocket up to the Kármán line – an imaginary boundary 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level, where many experts say space begins.
The entire voyage lasted just over 10 minutes, but the crew was only weightless for three minutes. During that time, they unbuckled, floated around the cabin, and tossed around orange ping pong balls and candy. Then they briefly took in the bird’s-eye views of Earth.
“It felt way cooler than it looked,” Daemen said after watching the video footage.
“Everyone on the ground was way more emotional than we were,” he added. “We were just having fun.”
Tuesday marked New Shepard’s first passenger flight. (The rocket has successfully flown 15 times without people on board.) But Bezos isn’t the first billionaire to fly his company’s rocket to the edge of space.
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson completed a similar suborbital flight aboard a reusable, winged rocket called SpaceShipTwo on July 11. That journey lasted 90 minutes.
Blue Origin has argued that Branson didn’t go to space, since he only flew to about 55 miles above sea level and did not pass the Kármán line. But both NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration have awarded astronaut wings to pilots who flew past 50 miles.
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