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Jeff Bezos has blasted off into space on the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, marking a historic launch.
The Amazon founder and world’s richest person took off from a desert site in West Texas, the US, onboard the New Shephard, designed by his company Blue Origin.
The 57-year-old was joined by his brother, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pilot, and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student as they travelled to the edge of space.
"It was amazing," crew could be heard telling the control room.
A voice believed to be Bezos said it was the "best day ever".
Brother Mark added: "I am unbelievably good."
The craft boasts the biggest windows ever flown into space.
As well as an opportunity to take in breath-taking views of Earth, the group got out of their seats and float around the cabin for about four minutes.
"Jeff, this is something you've dreamed of your whole life and your passion for space is infectious," a message from Jeff Bezos's sister Christina read moments before lift-off.
"Now hurry up and get your asses back down here so I can give you a huge hug, we love you, and godspeed New Shepard."
Dressed in a blue flight suit and cowboy hat, Bezos rode to the launch pad with his fellow passengers, waving to a cheering crowd that had gathered along the road.
The billionaire's parents and other family members were also on site for the launch.
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Rival billionaire Richard Branson got to space first, but Bezos is due to fly higher – 62 miles (100 km) for Blue Origin compared to 53 miles (86 km) for Virgin Galactic.
Experts have called it the world's first unpiloted space flight with an all-civilian crew.
Bezos earlier told Fox Business Network: “I am excited, but not anxious. We'll see how I feel when I'm strapped into my seat.”
He added: “We're ready. The vehicle's ready. This team is amazing. I feel very good about it. And I think my fellow crewmates feel good about it, too."
Funk was one of the so-called Mercury 13 group of women who trained to become NASA astronauts in the early 1960s but was passed over because of her gender.
Daemen, Blue Origin's first paying customer, is set to attend the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management in September.
His dad heads investment management firm Somerset Capital Partners.
Bezos' brother told CBS: "Like any little brother you pick up on what your big brother loves, and so certainly I fell in love with space, the promise of it, the adventure of it.
"I'm just so excited to be able to be there and represent my mum and dad and our sister Christina and supporting Jeff and realising this life-long dream."
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- Jeff Bezos
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