LAUNCH SITE ONE, Texas—Jeff Bezos burst from his spacecraft with a smile on his face as wide as the brim of the cowboy hat atop his head.
The founder of Amazon fulfilled a lifelong dream of flying into space Tuesday morning aboard a rocket and capsule he personally funded. During a few minutes of weightlessness, Bezos and his brother Mark had floated around the New Shepard capsule alongside aviation pioneer Wally Funk and an 18-year-old customer, Oliver Daemen. They tossed Skittles candy into one another’s mouths and enjoyed the view.
“Best day ever,” said Bezos, 57, after landing safely beneath three parachutes. “My expectations were high, and they were dramatically exceeded.”
Not everyone was thrilled by the adventures of the richest person in the world. With his brief 10-minute flight, Bezos provoked sharply divided reactions. Some people even wished Bezos had launched and never come back.
These critics expressed frustration with Bezos for busting unions and not treating Amazon employees well. Environmentalists despaired that as the world burns from climate change and other calamities, Bezos responded by jetting into space. And with all of his wealth, Bezos offered an inviting target for those who loathe ultra-rich billionaires and want them to pay their fair share of taxes. Criticism of Bezos spanned the ideological divide, from Tucker Carlson on Fox News to Liberal Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.