Jeff Bezos Launches 69,000 Feet Higher Than Richard Branson Into Space

Jeff Bezos launched 351,210 feet into space on Tuesday, eclipsing the height of Richard Branson's flight by roughly 69,000 feet.

Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon, is the second billionaire to make his own space trip this month. He and his fellow astronauts launched in the New Shepard, a Blue Origin rocket that had successful test launches but had never flown humans before.

Bezos was joined by his brother Mark Bezos, pilot Wally Funk and teenager Oliver Daemen. At 82 and 18, respectively, Funk and Daemon are the oldest and youngest people to ever fly into space.

The liftoff occurred at approximately 9:13 a.m. Monday at Blue Origin's Launch Site One, located in the Texas desert. The New Shepard soared past the Kármán Line, which is known as the altitude at which outer space begins, to an altitude of 66.52 miles.

After landing safely back to Earth, Bezos could be heard saying inside the capsule that it was the "best day ever."

Bezos's flight comes nine days after Branson, the 70-year-old British billionaire and owner of the rival space company Virgin Galactic, successfully launched into space.

Branson's flight reached an altitude of roughly 282,000 feet or 53.2 miles. Branson's rocket SpaceShipTwo surpassed NASA's designated Earth-Space boundary of 50 miles, but fell short of the Kármán Line.

"I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid but honestly, nothing could prepare you for the view of Earth from space," Branson said after the trip. "It was just magical."

Bezos surpasses Branson altitude in space flight
The New Shepard Blue Origin rocket lifts-off from the launch pad carrying Jeff Bezos along with his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old Wally Funk on July 20, 2021 in Van Horn, Texas. The New Shepard soared past the Kármán Line during its flight, which is known as the altitude at which outer space begins. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Despite scheduling their flights just a week apart, both billionaires have insisted they weren't in a "space race" against one another,

"I've said this so many times, it really wasn't a race," Branson said after landing. "We're just delighted that everything went so fantastically well. We wish Jeff the absolute best and the people who are going up with him during his flight."

Blue Origin says in its mission statement that "we are not in a race, and there will be many players in this human endeavor to go to space to benefit Earth."

"Blue's part in this journey is building a road to space with our reusable launch vehicles, so our children can build the future," the company said. "We will go about this step by step because it is an illusion that skipping steps gets us there faster. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast."

Blue Origin, like Branson's Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk's SpaceX, plans to start flying paying customers in the months ahead.