back to article Good news: Jeff Bezos went to space. Bad news: He's back

Wally Funk has finally gone to space, accompanied by the Bezos bros and Oliver Daemen aboard Blue Origin's sub-orbital New Shepard. It has been a long time coming. Funk was part of the group dubbed the Mercury 13, a group of women who underwent what were essentially the same tests as NASA's Mercury astronauts. Infamously, the …

  1. Dr_N Silver badge
    Joke

    Woosh

    This whole story passed me by/went over my head.

  2. ST Silver badge
    Devil

    Executive Summary

    Branson: I got there first.

    Bezos: Yeah, but mine's bigger.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Executive Summary

      Whenever I see that thing (fnar) I go all Finbar Saunders.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Executive Summary

        Musk: Sorry you only want to launch from Earth? Losers !

      2. HildyJ Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Executive Summary

        I wonder if it's significant that Branson's looks like a vagina and Bezos' and Musk's look like penises?

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: Executive Summary

          There is no getting away from the fact that New Shepard looks like a sex toy. Not one I'd care to insert, but very definitely dong-shaped.

          SpaceX does not remind me of such a thing, although "Falcon Heavy" is now my favourite term for certain days of the month.

          I don't get the comparisons between VSS Unity and a vagina. And I am something of an expert in these matters. Branson himself, on the other hand is a proper .... well I'll see you next Tuesday.

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Executive Summary

            "comparisons between VSS Unity and a vagina. And I am something of an expert"

            Myffy, as in the female Welsh name Myfanwy?

            Bathgate Job Centre employed a Myfanwy Rumbles but due to poor pronunciation the receptionist would often tannoy, "My fanny rumbles. My fanny rumbles, please contact reception"

            It relieved the ennui of signing on or working there, and if you think about it the victim of the joke wasn't the Welsh lass, it was the unwitting receptionist making the mistake.

            1. MyffyW Silver badge

              Re: Executive Summary

              @Danny_2 oh the joys of explaining Welsh pronunciation. A common mistake is someone pronouncing the final syllable "-way" rather than "-wee". Plenty of toilet humour potential there.

              On other occasions the "w" gets missed. Once thought of inviting some Indian colleagues round for a fry-up but the thought of "Breakfast at Miffany's" was too much to bear.

              1. Danny 2 Silver badge

                Re: Executive Summary

                No lie, age ten I knew every Max Boyce routine, and every Billy Connolly routine.

                I'm not a fan of rugby, but age 14 I'd attend every Welsh after party in Edinburgh. I'd drink all their drinks and they would laugh their heads off because when they noticed I'd sing Max Boyce rugby songs. English and Irish rugby fans were not so amenable, they'd beat me up. Even Scottish bar staff were not so forgiving, they beat me up worse. As you do/did to kids. But the Welsh were party people. Loved them.

                My sexiest foreign accents are Welsh and French, in that order. I would come to "Breakfast at Miffany's" if I still ate breakfast, you sound delicious. Here's to the day we two nations become a united Britain.

                Max Boyce reads his coronavirus poem When Just The Tide Went Out

                Thank the lord you are Welsh!

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Executive Summary

      "My workers are living in tents, so I don't have to pay them a living wage and thus I could have all this money for the rocket fuel. Those poor buggers could watch me through the holes in their tents." - Jeff

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Executive Summary

        "My workers are living in tents, so I don't have to pay them a living wage and thus I could have all this money for the rocket fuel. Those poor buggers could watch me through the holes in their tents." - Jeff

        He is taking a lot of crap about that. And he probably should. However, like almost all the very wealthy, he won't care.

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Executive Summary

        According to his fanbois he is some sort of saviour, keeping starvation from the door of his employees. and others say that his employees get the bigliest work packages.

    3. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Executive Summary

      So the shape of Bezos' Rocket.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Executive Summary

        Apparently there is a scientific explanation - for the rocket. It was quite entertaining.

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Executive Summary

      Bezos missed a sponsorship opportunity from a condom manufacturer...

  3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Oh dear

    Today's date also marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

    I watched it live as a teenager and now feel very old.

    1. eldel

      Re: Oh dear

      I, rather unfortunately, resemble that remark.

      I watched it during the reception for my cousin's wedding. It was so important a whole room of Scots stopped drinking to watch it. Rarely has such an event been seen. (Moon landing or Scots not drinking at an open bar - take your pick)

    2. LochNessMonster

      Re: Oh dear

      "Today's date also marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

      I watched it live as a teenager and now feel very old."

      Imagine how I feel, having watched it as a (sleepy) 5yo with my grandfather who remembered news of the Wright Bros flight reaching the UK. :-(

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Oh dear

        They managed to fly all the way to the UK? Crikey!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Oh dear

          Naaaa....that was Alcock & Brown (Oooeer missus, since we're talking about Bezos Dildo)

      2. P. Lee

        Re: Oh dear

        Female Astronaut Meme:

        Houston, we have a problem.

        - Roger, what's your situation?

        Ah, don't worry about it.

        - Please confirm the issue

        Nothing's wrong.

        - Are you sure?

        Its fine.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Oh dear

          Male Astronaut Meme:

          No! I am NOT asking for directions. I know where I'm going.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Oh dear

        "Imagine how I feel, having watched it as a (sleepy) 5yo with my grandfather who remembered news of the Wright Bros flight reaching the UK. :-("

        You are me and ICM£5 :-)

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      Me too!

      My girlfriend's dad invited me to watch the landing on his new colour telly.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Oh dear

        But did you get a shag?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But did you get a shag?

          Off with gf, or the dad?

          1. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: But did you get a shag?

            Norty. How about trois?

    4. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      I was 13 months old and reliably informed that I was woken to watch the landing.

      Sad that 52 years later all we can do is go round and round or up and down. What happened to landing on Mars?

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Oh dear

        Money.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Oh dear

          And TV ratings

    5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Oh dear

      As did I.

      I still get a bit choked up when I watch the landing sequence...and when I watch the Apollo 8 reading of Genesis.

      It was a different time. In some ways better, some ways worse, and, sadly, in some ways which nothing has changed.

      // old guy rant over

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Oh dear

        Shame they had to bring mythology and fairy stories into a scientific endeavour.

        And that is why I received this comment : "It’s time for people to understand that government USA bunch of lying devils. Trust God and Trump in that order. God is using President Trump to expose the truth about these lying devils like God used Noah, Moses and Abraham."

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Oh dear

          I suspect at least 6 people misread what and why you quoted what you did.

          1. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: Oh dear

            Cheers. Have a few pints. It seems to be rather a common problem, a knee jerk reaction to headlines without reading the article. The thing is it seems more prevalent amongst the sort of people I was referring to.

            1. gandalfcn Silver badge

              Re: Oh dear

              To the downvoter. Thanks for proving me correct.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      " watched it live as a teenager and now feel very old."

      You should worry. I watched it in my mid-twenties.

  4. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Pint

    Congrats ...

    Congratulations to Wally Funk.

    Richly deserved in so many ways.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Congrats ...

      Yep. I was at the National Space Centre the other weekend and there's a whole section on the female astronaut trainees who underwent all the training, in general passed with better scores and a higher ratio of them passing than their male counterparts... and then were all unceremoniously dropped because they were female.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Congrats ...

        There's another post here in these comments that adds more to the story: https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2021/07/20/new_shepard_crewed_flight/#c_4298703

      2. GrahamRJ

        Re: Congrats ...

        Not just for astronaut training. Funk was also refused a pilot job by all airlines - and then refused access to the Shuttle programme because she hadn't had a job as a test pilot.

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    It's rich idiots throwing money at vanity projects that makes stuff practical and affordable for the masses. Mobile phones, cars, television, satellite TV, newspapers, books, printing, year-round fresh vegetables, electricity, umberellas

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      There were many jealous people when it was announced that one of the super-rich owned two rocks!

      Who needs two rocks?

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        "Who needs two rocks?"

        HHGTTG reference:

        "and to all non-evolved life forms, the trick is to keep banging the rocks together guys!"

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        You had two rocks! sheer luxury. We only had a pebble and a stick!

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          Pointy stick?

          (This was from before the days of warfare involving soft fruit)

    2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Umbrellas

      "It's rich idiots throwing money at vanity projects that makes stuff practical and affordable for the masses. ... cars, ..., umberellas"

      According to Marcel Proust*:

      "When it rains, the rich ride in carriages, the bourgeois have their umbrellas, and the poor ... get wet."

      *'In Search of Lost Time' (I forget which volume, sorry).

      1. dajames

        Re: Umbrellas

        "When it rains, the rich ride in carriages, the bourgeois have their umbrellas, and the poor ... get wet."

        Nah.

        “The rain it raineth on the just

        And also on the unjust fella;

        But chiefly on the just, because

        The unjust hath the just’s umbrella.”

        ― Charles Bowen

    3. Mast1

      Take the long view

      Agreed, but eg railways: 150 years ago when the (UK) royal family travelled by train.

      Post COVID you virtually have to pay someone to get on a train.

      Or the other way round: 200 years ago you had to be poor to be press-ganged to get onto a sailing ship.

      Nowadays sailing is you a wealthier man's sport.

      Yes, take the long view. YMMV.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "200 years ago you had to be poor to be press-ganged"

        Actually, the Royal Yacht Squadron was founded in 1815 - rich people already liked sailing 200 years ago. And luxury ships-for-the-rich-and-powerful existed well before that.

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      The 'rich idiots' are showing commercial human space travel is likely in the reasonable future. Branson's and Bezos' ventures are private companies not government agencies. It is telling 2 companies were able to successfully complete a suborbital space flight with people on board who were not astronauts. Someone has to be the first to do so. There is a lot of work to do before the masses go on space flights but this is the start.

      Also, Branson and Bezos should a great deal of confidence in their company's designs to go up themselves. This point should not be overlooked.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm wondering why the Musk hasn't jumped into one of his capsules yet... Oh, right, that'd be a waste of money. ;-)

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Without wishing to be a fanboy of the MuskTwat: These two are spending their money to get to space, he was trying to make money by going to space = a small difference

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            No - he is spending money to get to other planets, not just to get to space for a brief visit, but to have long term colonies on other planets.

            It's virtually aiming for the stars (technically only one of the wandering stars, but the sentiment of the phrase applies), and in building that capability SpaceX have become a prolific and successful launch provider.

            1. gandalfcn Silver badge

              Using the tech developed by NASA.

              1. John Robson Silver badge

                Using maths developed by Newton, and your point is?

                1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                  That he is not the glorious hero so many are depicting him as. The ones that totally ignore Sputnik, Gagarin, Apollo etc. They were the real heroes.

                  Funny that Bezos is demanding billions in state help isn't it. NASA could do with that and do a better job. Similarly with all the money given to Musk.

                  1. John Robson Silver badge

                    What he is is a man with a vision, who has made extraordinary wealth and is now spending vast amounts of that wealth on projects which further that vision.

                    Bezos wailing that he needs an enormous bung from congress is pitiful, I think we can all agree with that.

                    Electrification of transport, it's not a new idea - but Tesla has done more to make it mainstream than most others, by lighting a fire under existing manufacturers, showing what can be done.

                    Space travel - SpaceX nearly collapsed, but then they managed to get an F1 to orbit, and then developed the F9, and then started bloody landing the boosters and flying them again, and again, and again.

                    There is still a good chance that SLS/Orion will reach orbit before Starship, but if you count doing 85% of a lap as basically orbit then it will be a close run thing - if the first starship booster flight goes without a hitch then they'll get there first, if not then SLS has a chance in November - though SpaceX might turn up for a second launch by then...

                    Yes - much of their funding comes from NASA, but that's part of the commercial supply services which anyone can bid on and supply.

                    The boring company - Yeah, not sure I see the value in this vision particularly. But I don't expect everything he touches to be fairy dust.

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                And yet NASA aren't doing it. Also bare in mind that pretty much all NASAs launch capability is and more or less always has been outsourced. SpaceX are a NASA contractor, just like all the others building SLS etc.

      2. dajames
        Coat

        ... commercial human space travel is likely in the reasonable future.

        Yeah, I was going to go to Mars for my holidays, but apparently it's on the red list.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Also, Branson and Bezos should a great deal of confidence in their company's designs to go up themselves.

        You do know that Branson has been selling his Virgin Galactic shares?

        While there is some impressive technology involved, these are largely vanity and some of these projects have unresolved enviromental projects including: space tourism, really? Though what happens with the aluminium from Musk's satellite constellation is probably a more pressing problem.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          "You do know that Branson has been selling his Virgin Galactic shares?" I wasn't at all surprised, he has a history of selling high when the media is full of him. Which is one reason he is so wealthy.

      4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        It's like cheering athletes who used performance enhancing drugs to achieve record results.

        Had they paid workers correctly and paid fair share of tax, they wouldn't have money to spend on such vanity projects and at the same time governments would have funds to continue meaningful space exploration.

        I personally don't think that compromised quality of life of millions is the right sacrifice, just so that a couple of privileged buffoons could brag about being in space. Technically we all are in space.

        1. S4qFBxkFFg

          "Had they paid workers correctly and paid fair share of tax, they wouldn't have money to spend on such vanity projects..."

          That's quite possibly correct.

          "...and at the same time governments would have funds to continue meaningful space exploration."

          I would be very sceptical that the state of the USA space program would be much improved by Bezos being taxed at 100% of his wealth; the small percentage of that that made it to NASA would probably be allocated by Congress to their local interests (e.g. Boeing and the SLS).

      5. Yes Me Silver badge
        Stop

        Ban it!

        "commercial human space travel is likely in the reasonable future"

        It should be forbidden by international treaty. It is wrong at so many levels, most so because of its horrible carbon footrpint.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Ban it!

          Yes and no. Sorry.

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Ban it!

          So you would also ban all long haul flights on the same basis...

          1. Dave559 Silver badge

            Re: Ban it!

            Yes, we need to seriously reduce the number of flights made (basically, literal overseas flights only, and probably even there we need to be looking into electrically powered ships). We should be using high speed trains (powered by electricity from non-fossil-fuel sources) wherever possible. These have some environmental cost, of course, but are the most sustainable means of long distance travel.

            Yes, this means that some journeys will take noticeably longer, but, to protect our environment, that is a price that society needs to be willing to pay (I've always thought that the journey was almost as much fun as the destination, anyway!). Governments could help to 'sell' the idea by passing laws to increase minimum annual holiday entitlements by an additional two days, so that the sort of holiday trips that might take a few hours by air don't cost people additional holiday time (or it's extra free holiday, if you choose to holiday closer to home).

            For business trips, while human nature probably needs some in-person meetings, it would be more environmentally-friendly for at least some of them to be done by videoconferencing (which we have all been doing for the past year, and the business world didn't end).

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Ban it!

            It's not the length of the flight but the height that matters so avoiding short hauls is a quick win: space tourism really doesn't make sense until we have completely renewable fuel sources and understand more about how reentry affects the upper levels of the atmosphere.

        3. fishman

          Re: Ban it!

          New Shepard burns hydrogen and oxygen - the byproduct is water.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Ban it!

            Yebbut....producing that amount of liquid hydrogen and oxygen takes lots of energy. Even if it's done with wind and solar power, those windmills needs lots of fibreglass and concrete, solar panels use highly pollutant generating materials production.

            (Yeah, I know, amortisation of pollution if the windmills and solar panels last long enough, the point is few people actually look at the entire chain of events to produce "clean" fuel)

      6. hoola Silver badge

        All well and good but this must be one of the most irresponsible use of resources there is.

        These people already have massive carbon footprints and this is a willy-waving exercise in one-upmanship.

        Sorry but I really don't see the value other than a handful of super-rich people continuing to emit more pollution and CO2 than entire countries.

    5. MonsieurTM

      Long my they put their lives on the line for improving my life!

    6. A. Coatsworth
      Childcatcher

      Nyah-nyah-nyah!

      My favorite billionaire (who baseless accuses people of child molesting, and crashes the market for short-term profit) is better than your favorite billionaire (who keeps people on virtual slavery working conditions, and fights unions like a 1800's industrial baron)

      Human behavior is surely baffling, even from the normally-intelligent people who frequent these fora, taking side for one of these people that not only wouldn't give a flying fig for us, but would trample us for profit.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Nyah-nyah-nyah!

        Celebrate them all - I just struggle to see what blue origin have been doing - they have been around two years longer than SpaceX and are yet to send anything to orbit.

        It's not as if Mr Bezos is short of money to fund their development programme.

        Virgin Galactic have always been about the tourism, and Virgin Orbital have put payloads into orbit (yes, different companies, VO spun out of VG), despite being two year younger than spaceX.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Nyah-nyah-nyah!

          "Celebrate them all - I just struggle to see what blue origin have been doing - they have been around two years longer than SpaceX and are yet to send anything to orbit.""

          The difference between BO and SpaceX seems to be methodology. BO are more NASA like in going slow, testing everything and making sure they are ready for a successful launch. Bare in mind they are scaling up New Shepherd to make the orbital launcher New Glenn. Although New Shepherd, in and of itself, seems to be a dead end, purely for sub-orbital tourism jaunts and science missions.

          SpaceX have gone the alternative route of build it and see if it works. Fill it full of telemetry instruments and when (not if!) it fails, learn from what failed and build another one and do it fast on a production line. They appear, on the face of it and from current evidence, to be the most successful so far.

    7. Yes Me Silver badge
      Flame

      Worse than vanity

      It's significantly worse than a vanity project. It's actively worsening climate change, by burning hundreds of kilograms of fuel that didn't need burning. Right up there with BitCoin mining as part of Homo sapiens's collective suicide bid.

      1. Geoff Campbell
        Boffin

        Re: Worse than vanity

        New Shepard burns hydrogen. No carbon footprint at all.

        SpaceX's Starship is burning methane, specifically so they can manufacture it on-site from the atmosphere, using electricity from renewal sources. No carbon footprint at all.

        Surprising though it may be, these guys have thought about this stuff.

        GJC

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Worse than vanity

          The likelihood of that hydrogen being completely zero carbon is relatively small.

          And of course the power that was used could have supplied other things on the grid.

          1. Geoff Campbell
            Facepalm

            Re: Worse than vanity

            Sure. If you're determined that nothing that either company ever does will be right, you could view it like that.

            GJC

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Worse than vanity

              I celebrate both, as well as spaceX.

              But realistically claiming that BO don't dump carbon is ignoring that they are dumping water vapour high into the atmosphere, which is also a reasonably effective greenhouse gas...

              And I am not aware that they are shouting about it being carbon neutral hydrogen

          2. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Worse than vanity

            >>>And of course the power that was used could have supplied other things on the grid.<<<

            As could the power used by billions of TVs across the globe and ultimately by anything that isn't providing actual life support.

            1. John Robson Silver badge

              Re: Worse than vanity

              Absolutely it could - the point was very badly made...

              We need to be decarbonising the grid as a whole, not just individual operations.

    8. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Bollocks. Total bollocks. Mass production if things invented by relatively poor people made them practical and affordable, very often based on old inventions. Printing. Sumeria and China

      "The Asian priority of invention movable type is now firmly established, and that Chinese-Korean technique, or a report of it traveled westward is almost certain."

      Gutenberg was not rich, comfortably well off probably describes his upbringing.

      Similarly with the rest of your claims.

    9. gandalfcn Silver badge

      The things you mentioned were either invented a long time ago or were invented by relatively poor people

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        To the ignorant downvoters, why didn't you check rather than being knee jerk jerkers?

  6. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Video

    The New Scientist web site has a long video at https://www.newscientist.com/article/2284567-blue-origin-founder-jeff-bezos-has-ridden-his-own-rocket-to-space/

    Jump to to about 1hr40m for the actual lift off, flight and landings (both booster and capsule landed ok).

    Oh, and they are right, they do have really big windows.

    A shame the price of a ticket is over £20million above my price range.

    1. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

      Re: Video

      "A shame the price of a ticket is over £20million above my price range."...

      There's always Beardy's competition to send 2 members of the public up in his shiny shuttlecock.

      https://www.space.com/virgin-galactic-omaze-suborbital-spaceflight-contest

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Video

        I see that tickets for Virgin Galactic cost a 'mere '$250,000' and that no lesser person than the Elon himself has put down a deposit:

        https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-virgin-galactic-ticket-richard-branson-space-deposit-price-2021-7?r=US&IR=T

        I suppose I'd better start saving up my pennies.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Video

      Oh, and they are right, they do have really big windows.
      "Big, Beautiful W...indows" apparently

  7. TeeCee Gold badge

    As usual, the Tw@ter types can't do funny.

    Far better would be:

    1) While he's stepped out, we all hide.

    2) Quick! Everyone dress up as Zombies.

    3) Dig a 50' hole where his capsule will land and chuck a few hundred snakes in the bottom.

    etc...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's funny? Don't quit your day job.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Mission"??

    Please can we use "flight" instead. "Mission" implies some sort of objective and purpose, beyond just landing safely.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: "Mission"??

      Mission Pointless/Pointless Mission

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "Mission"??

      The early Mercury "missions" were basically "launch and land safely". So there is a precedent.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "Mission"??

        Yes, but they were seeing if it was actually possible. That experiment was repeated often enough that it's not needing repeating again :-)

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "Mission"??

      "Please can we use "flight" instead. "

      No. If it's not got wings, it's not flying. How about an Uppy Downy Thingy?

  9. madmalc

    When I was a kid I was taken to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now commercial space is actually beginning to happen I, for one, am celebrating

    1. LDS Silver badge

      This is commercial space like ascending in a hot air balloon was commercial flying. It's a more complex type of hot air, but the result is quite the same.

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      One of my favourite movies. Still, and it keeps getting better because of all the "visions of the future" which went the other way: The Bell System, Picturephone, Howard Johnsons, and, of course, Pan-Am.

      Sadly, there won't be a Pan-Am logo on the shuttle...they're a railroad now:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Railways

      The name was also used by several defunct air carriers, none active at the moment...so maybe one of the billionaires could pick up the name and make 2001 come true?

  10. werdsmith Silver badge

    Absolutely brilliant. A single stage boost over the top with MECO at mach 3. May this be the start of better things to come.

    less than 50 years from Wright botherers to the sound barrier. What might 50 years bring in flight beyond the atmosphere?

    1. Geoffrey W

      The three stigmata of Palmer Eldritch?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        The three stigmata of Palmer Eldritch?

        Drug dealing? Don't think that's on the roadmap.

        1. Geoffrey W

          He brought something unpleasant back from the far reaches of the universe. Elon Musk has the perfect name for the job, and he's trying to get there. Keep an eye on those billionaires; they're up to no good. Mark my words!

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            In 2050 all billionaires will be living on Mars to keep the healthy distance from us, the pleb.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Maybe, but I'm sure there will be a downside.

              1. Geoffrey W

                For them or for us?

  11. MonsieurTM

    If one reads "Into the Silent Sea" a book about the Mercury astronauts and much of it taken from their own recollections. Captain Funk and the other ladies were never employees of NASA. Nor did they undergo the "same tests" - they never had access to the NASA facilities, e.g. the capsules, the trainers, etc. They underwent many of the *medical* tests done by the company that was employed to do these tests on the astronauts. The ladies were lied to about their role by an individual at that company in a sufficient position such that the pattern of his lies outrageously misled them.

    Captain Funk and her compatriots were caught up in the politics, bigotry and (at it's best) nascent attempts at emancipation of women of the time. Their latter careers are an exemplar for anyone: successful, modest, human.

    To falsify history and rewrite it as their denial to space, back then, is to totally ignore and underestimate their subsequent successful careers. Let us remember them for the real reasons! Their success and not a piece of "woke" rewriting of history.

    And, of course, sincere congratulations to Captain Funk on achieving a life-long dream of hers: to be an astronaut.

    1. TheProf Silver badge

      Indeed.

      Didn't Wally play a very significant role in the investigation of some major aircraft crashes?

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Her Wikipedia entry is well worth reading. An amazing person.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Avoidance

    The blatant arrogance of people like Jeff Bezos, will inevitably one day spark a revolution not seen before.

    This is not acceptable that companies like Amazon are raking in billions while paying pittance to workers and are shying away from taxes.

    Governments only solution to this is to tax workers even more, because what worker can do about that? If they start making companies paying their fair share, who is going to fund next holiday to our PM?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Avoidance

      As long as people keep ordering their Prime deliveries and watching the Grand Tour they have no place whinging.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Avoidance

        That's a bit playground level of argument. So if you don't like the government you have to leave the country?

        If they didn't skim the value generated by the workers for themselves, Prime and other non-sense would still operate just fine, the different is that you wouldn't have clowns thrusting themselves into space to stroke their huge egos,

        If Jeff Bezos had 10 million rather than 200 billion, the sky wouldn't fall.

        1. John Doe 12

          Re: Avoidance

          > So if you don't like the government you have to leave the country?

          In more extreme cases the answer to that is YES!! But in the case of Amazon there are plenty of alternatives without having to live the life of someone in the third world so I call hyperbole BS on this comment :-D

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: Avoidance

            How is that going to change the fact they avoid paying tax and pay pittance to the workers?

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Avoidance

              How is that going to change the fact they avoid paying tax and pay pittance to the workers?

              Think it through yourself, don’t expect people to spoon feed you what is an obvious easy answer to that question that my cat could work out.

              1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                Re: Avoidance

                Even if all people on here stopped shopping at Amazon, they'll see no material difference and they'll still avoid tax and continue business as usual.

                Voting with your wallet does not always work, especially when every big corporation does it.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Avoidance

          That's a bit playground level of argument. So if you don't like the government you have to leave the country?

          Playground level? Wow, that’s seriously hypocritical. You come back with a Wetherspoons pub bore level straw man argument.

          If you can’t see the difference in between choosing an alternative retailer and the upheaval of transplanting your life to another country then you’ve got no valid argument.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: Avoidance

            Every major retailer is doing that to an extent, so what kind of alternative are you talking about?

  14. knottedhandkerchief

    NSFW

    Anyone else notice the resemblance to the space craft in Flesh Gordon?

    1. Mintyboy
      Paris Hilton

      Re: NSFW

      Currently trending on Tw@ter is the #FleshGordon

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: NSFW

        The extra publicity due to the design of the space craft means cross-selling opportunity for these on Amazon. Satisfaction guaranteed, in 10min 20 seconds or less.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NSFW

      Every time I see the rocket, I think they should change the company name from Blue Origin to Electric Blue Origin.

  15. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    10 minutes and 20 seconds

    How much did the ex-CEO of Amazon earn whilst he was away/And will his financial advisors argue that some of that figure is not taxable as he was "away from the bounds of Earth" for some of that time?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10 minutes and 20 seconds

      https://newsthump.com/2021/07/20/jeff-bezos-now-resident-in-space-for-tax-purposes/

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
  17. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Meh

    You'll have to forgive me for not being impressed

    Riding this thing (or that other thing) to 100 km (or 90 km) for a few seconds doesn't make you an astronaut any more than riding in a light plane makes you a pilot. Beyond the height at which life support systems are required, the altitude itself is arbitrary if you're not going to orbit.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chimps in spaaaaaaace!

    Wally Funk excluded, she’s got the right stuff.

  19. Norman123

    A fantastic life at our expense?

    It must be a fantastically glorious life to be at the right place at the right time and be ruthless enough to stop at nothing to increase your loot at any cost and in any way.

    You and I and his employees, even the government are paying for high flyers' lifestyle because they have that amazing touch of madness most of us are unable to even imagine, let alone accept doing it.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: A fantastic life at our expense?

      >>>It must be a fantastically glorious life to be at the right place at the right time and be ruthless enough to stop at nothing to increase your loot at any cost and in any way.<<<

      I'd say that applies more to modern drug cartels than a few techies who beat the odds to get filthy rich.

  20. EricB123

    I Guess They Didn't Make It

    I don't mean that the flights were unsuccessful.

    "Once Bezos is in space we are going to have just 11 minutes to change the locks on the entire planet. It’s going to be tight; we can do it."

    I noticed my front door lock still works, so apparently "we" were not able to change all the locks on the planet in 11 minutes. I do hope everyone who participated at least tried hard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I Guess They Didn't Make It

      You didn't do it right! It was supposed to be a parallel operation, not a serial one! Novice error!

  21. Aseries

    You've come a long way baby!

    Bezos has gone a long way since selling books out of his garage. I bought one of his college textbooks with my first Amazon purchase in 1997.

  22. Chicken Marengo

    Houston..

    The ego has landed

  23. Ken G

    Noisy Smelly Things

    They’re a rich man’s toy, don’t get very far, are a danger to those around them and scare the horses. They should be banned entirely as they will never be useful. At minimum they should be made to have a man walking in front carrying a red flag to warn pedestrians.

    Now, what about these ‘spacecraft’?

  24. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I am disappoint

    All these posts and nobody links to the Austin Powers clip.

  25. Zebo-the-Fat

    A start...

    It's a good start.... but still only a sub orbital hop, does he have any plans to go for a a "proper" spacecraft (one that can get to orbit and do useful stuff) or will it remain a glorified roller coaster?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: A start...

      Like what? Zefram Cochrane's ship? Now there's a world apart in terms of ego. Though Zefram was just doing it for the money.

  26. TRT Silver badge

    Amazon has free returns...

    Unfortunately, they can still qualify for that description of a flight even when using a parachute.

  27. John70

    Just a toy

    When I saw the launch I thought "that looks like a dildo"...

    Then I thought it looks small and it's just a toy for the rich.

  28. Annihilator Silver badge

    “Not what it looks... Not what it looks… It's a twenty foot cock and balls, man. It don't look like nothing else, it's not happening!”

    1. John Doe 12

      Kudos for the Phoenix Nights reference :-D

  29. Brex
    FAIL

    Fail

    So in the end, a LOT of hoopla about a sub-orbital flight just like what was done some 60 years ago, with the difference that now it's a couple of billionaires burning money on the backs of retail monopolies. What else?

  30. jollyboyspecial

    Astronaut? Really?

    He calls himself "astronaut" apparently. But I think it's reasonable to say that you are only an astronaut (or a cosmonaut) if you were in space for at least as long as Gagarin managed. By which measure it seems Bezos fell short by at least 100 minutes.

    Some have suggested that one complete orbit (which Gagarin did achieve) others have said that by modern standards only achieving a stable orbit should qualify you as an astronaut.

    Either way what Bezos must surely notice is that hardly anybody cares for his antics. Indeed this particular stunt seems to have made him even less popular than he already was.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Astronaut? Really?

      He's also 4 inches shorter than when he went up... hard landing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Astronaut? Really?

        Reminds me of when Prince Charles inspected the Red Berets once.

        The Prince is walking down the line, then comes to one chap who is a full head and shoulders BELOW the rest of the line...

        Charles "I say! Aren't you a little short to be doing this game?"

        Trooper (saluting) "Sir! I was six foot seven when I started this game, Sir!"

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Astronaut? Really?

      Colbert on Bezos: ‘Billionaires and their rockets end up looking just like each other’

      “Now all day, the news networks covered this breathlessly,” he continued. “It was all billed like some sort of big, official, important thing. It’s not. It’s fun, I love space travel, good for them. But it’s not important

      https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/jul/21/stephen-colbert-jeff-bezos-rocket-late-show-recap

  31. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Biggest Bang Since The Big One

    ...is four minutes of zero G long enough for...?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Biggest Bang Since The Big One

      God yes, yes, YES!. I could get at least two in 4 whole minutes. Maybe you're doing it wrong?

      1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

        Re: Biggest Bang Since The Big One

        Sod this edge of space carp, I want all three wobblies at Eroticon 6!

        In Space, No One Can Find The Zero-G Spot...

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