Tuesday saw Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and 3 others strap on their seatbelts and shoot off to space for about 10 minutes aboard the Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and space capsule. A historic flight while it was, Bezos ensured it had a lot more history attached to it when he took American aviator Amelia Earhart’s goggles with him on the flight.
Bezos was accompanied by his younger brother Mark and the two were joined on the space flight by the oldest and the youngest astronauts ever-pioneering woman aviator Wally Funk,82 and Dutch high school graduate Oliver Daemen, 18.
At the post flight press conference, Bezos revealed that he had owned the googles acclaimed female pilot Earhart had worn when she had flown across the Atlantic. The googles had slivers of tape across the middle of each lens to block out harsh sunlight.
Bezos said, “I like to think that if Amelia were here, she would be very proud of Wally," Wally Funk had trained to be an astronaut back in the 1960s but could not go due to her gender. She was part of Mercury 13 – a group of American women who underwent the physiological tests that astronauts selected by NASA did.
The crew reportedly also took a few other priceless objects with them to space which included a piece of canvas from the Wright Flyer, the first powered airplane flown by the Wright brothers in 1903 and also a bronze medallion to commemorate the first hot air balloon flight in 1783.
“Thank you, Amelia, wherever you are - we hope you’re watching all of this," Bezos said. He handed over the googles to Wally as a gift. You can watch the full press conference on Blue Origin’s website or below:
Earhart had crossed the Atlantic twice, first as a passenger in 1928 when she accompanied pilot Wilmer Stultz and copilot and mechanic Louis Gordon on the flight. She had the duty of keeping the flight log. She later on travelled solo across the Atlantic in 1932. A feminist and a woman of resource, Earhart ended up taking several other such endeavours of flying solo. She disappeared along with in 1937 during an attempt at a round-the-world flight and her plane was never found.