tv Craig Melvin Reports MSNBC July 20, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT
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good tuesday morning to you. craig melvin with my hallie jackson. back with our special coverage of the blue origin rocket launch and a new space race that just took one giant leap forward a short time ago. jeff bezos carved out his own slice of history at the edge of space. it's part of the first unpiloted sub orbital flight with an all civilian crew and it came some 15 years to the day of that apollo moon landing. >> any moment we expect to hear from bezos and the folks that went to space alongside him. his brother mark bezos and two others, 82-year-old wally funk, she trained in the 1960s to show women could qualify for the astronaut core, but was ult patly rejected because she's a
woman. and an 18-year-old also along for the ride. he got his seat after an auction winner had had a scheduling conflict. they both just became the old est and younger people ever to make it to space again on the 52nd anniversary of that lunar landing. >> let's get to morgan chesky on the ground. we should point out for our viewers and listeners on sirius, we are just momts away from that news conference with everbezos and the other blue origin passengers. they just landed about an hour and a half ago now. take us through what we have seen so far this morning. what's the crew been up to since they landed? >> reporter: after that smooth landing here in the west texas desert, three parachutes and a little bit of a rocket push to cushion them as they landed. the crew was welcomed by another crew member that was part of a convoy that met this capsule nearly as soon as it touched
down. everyone flashing a thumbs up as they made sure and there was no electrical charges on the outside of that capsule. then they got everyone out to a crowd, lots of hugs, smiles and cowboy hats. after the initial welcome back to earth, they did have to go to a medical screening where they were treated by medical staff there on the blue origin site making sure that everyone withstood those 3 gs of force whenever they lifted off. and that everyone is in fine health. important to note jeff bezos prior to the launch said that all of the training they had to undergo in the last several days and the rehearsals for the launch, wally was beating out the guys. so the oldest astronaut, the most suited for this one of a kind mission. and as of right now, we have heard nothing from blue origin that would lead us to believe anything did not go according to plan, whether it be with the crew or the launch itself. everything going off as smooth
as you can for a very casual tuesday morning jaunt to space. >> just another tuesday as we're having our coffee heefr here. i'm most excited to hear from wally funk, who has been such a vision of joy through this whole process, betting out of that capsule, spreading her arms wide. we all hope to have the day wally funk is having today. i have to ask you. one thing that struck me as i have been watching our coverage, this is a spectacle. you have the choppers, the cameras, the boom lights and the live stream. blue origin has been very clear that they want this to be a big, made for television moment. not everybody likes it. we have had some folks on this program even this morning who say this is a glorified ad for blue origin. they have some problems with it. whether you like it or not, it's very intentional from the company at this moment that they view as history for them. >> reporter: i mean, this is a
history-making moment. you have an all-civilian crew going up in a rocket from the middle of the west texas desert piloted from the ground with the rocket returning right on the pad in which it launched from. then a smooth landing from the capsule itself. this is only step one. we have heard jeff bezos say he wants to create a road to space. as far as its impact here, i can tell you, ien went to boy scout camp not too far away from here. never in my dreams would i imagine seeing a rocket take off, go 62 miles up into the sky with the richest man on the planet and the oldest and youngest astronauts. to hear the liftoff in my ear piece and then wait a few seconds and see that rocket trail going up, i can't tribe it any other way than just a surreal moment. i was not on board that ship, but i felt very small and just realizing what was taking place not too far away from where we
were standing. hundreds, if not more people were gahered on highways that have been shut down in the area out of safety sake during that launch. people were driving this from all over the state. to be clear, this is not an easy place to get to. if you want to fly here, you're still a three-hour drive to van horn, texas. interstate 10 run ares right through here. and most people know this is a place to pull off and get gas and some snacks before continuing on their road trip. that all changes today. >> morgan, burying the lead there, boy scout camp, not too many years ago for you. thank you sr. much. >> van horn, texas, population less than 2,000. stephanie is there on the ground as well. the first reporter to talking talk to the bezos brothers after they return to earth. it was a fantastic conversation. just a few minutes old now.
the energy, shall we say the excitement, palpable. those grown men reduced to little boys, it would seem, stephanie. >> reporter: without a doubt. and you guys mentioned it a momt ago. i get it. there's been a lot of criticism. there is a spectacle and an advertise the. as somebody who is here, let's push all those criticisms out. let's do it tomorrow. as someone who watched this up close, it was the most extraordinary, inspirational day of american exceptionalism. these brothers, the oldest astronaut, the youngest, in this very small town in west texas, the town we're in coming here yesterday, i was saying, man, it's like they chose the end of the earth to decide where this were going to launch into space. and it was a day when all of us would want to say, man, i want to go back and study science in high school. i want to do this one day. and america certainly needs a lot of inspiration right now,
but one of the things that jeff said that stuck out to me was about what has changed in his mind. he's cared about space. but after looking at earth through his rear view mirror, what do yes need to do now? check this out. >> we have to build a road to space so our kids can build a future. we live on this beautiful planet. you can't imagine how thin the atmosphere is when you see it from space. with live in it and it looks so big. it feels like this atmosphere is huge and we can disregard it and treat it poorly. when you get up there and see it, you see how fragile it is. we need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry and move it into space. and keep earth as this beautiful gym of a planet that it is. that's going to take decades to achieve, but you have to start. big things start with small steps. we need reusable rocket vehicles, we need to practice with thunderstorm.
that's what this sub orbital tourism mission allows us to do. to practice over and over. so this is the very beginning of that. it's exciting. >> anything now that you didn't think yesterday, but now you're saying, i'm going to do this. this is the change that's going to happen next. >> so for me, it reenforces my commitment to the environment. i think if you look at it, we have too much vilification in society today and not enough unity. we need unifiers. when you look out at the planet, there are no borders. there's nothing. it's one planet. we share it. it's fragile. >> until now, space exploration has been a passion of yours but not your day job. does that change today? does this become your life's work? >> this and the bezos earth fund, which is the climate change foundation. that's going to be the focus of my work. >> maybe my hardest question. your brother just took you to space. what are you giving him for christmas?
>> look, i already let the guy take me to space. what more do i need to do if this man. >> reporter: craig, yes, it's obviously an exceptional day for the brothers, for the bezos family, but it's a great day for america. not to say that americaen doesn't currently have all sorts of problems that we have to deal with, but you can do multiple things and space exploration and science and research around it is really important. it was a big win for america today. >> steph how do you see jeff bezos splitting his time? he created, as you noted earlier, he created this empire with amazon. he told you pretty directly he's going to split his time between space travel and his climate change foundation. do you see one taking precedence over the other, especially, and we have noted it here and you made some points on this, especially at a moment of criticism for bezos for taking this flight from some corners
launching this flight and spend billions. >> reporter: i would answer in two ways. besides climate change and space exploration, what he didn't mention was amazon. that's what got him here. what made him the richest man in the world is building amazon, changing commerce and the retail industry. he's obviously still chairman of the company. there's now a new ceo, but jeff bezos, there's no talk of amazon here. it's not focus. you can say is he only going to focus on space. remember, he's the richest person in the world. he has a lot of money. he can donate a lot to both. and woolsey what he does. if you listened, he said similar things to what we have heard from other astronauts. the profound experience. when you're in space and looking at earth, you want to protect it. he has the dough to do it. he has the brains. it's go time. we would love to see, all these
billionaires love space, it would be great to see billionaires take this kind of will and competitive spirit to solving something else like climate change. solve it, rich boys. >> stephanie, great to have you as always live there in west texas. i know we'll see more of you throughout our coverage. we'll get to the news conference as soon as it begins. we expect it to start at any minute. until we do, i want to bring in a couple expert who is know everything about this. dr. may gemson is back with us, a former nasa astronaut, the first african-american woman to have traveled to space. also leading that starship project working toward human flight. it's great to see both of you on this big morning. let me start with you here. what's the message jeff bezos needs to deliver when he takes to the podium at the news conference moments from now that you haven't heard from him so far? what do you think?
>> i think thank you for letting me come on. i think the biggest thing is to say i'm a rich billionaire. i flew to space. but this is for everyone. and we talk about decrock ratizing space. we only look at the lens of seeing we have a billionaire in elon musk, jeff bezos, but all the philanthropy around allowing more access to space for people to look like me and may. i think what's happening with the mission coming up in september, we have an african-american woman who actually applied to go to space through the nasa route. but now she is an inspiration for. we need to start looking a the solving climate change problems, but also solving problems around
bringing people together. you mentioned vilification, but we to that by being inclusive and bringing more people to the table to allow people -- i wear my flight suit ever time i'm on this show because i want kids to see i'm a real life astronaut. sometimes we miss the point that, hey, this is how do you get there. and i think it's so important that all of our kids see there are opportunities for everyone. >> you mentioned this word that caught the attention of a congressman on our show an our hour ago who are said how can you even talk about democracytizing space travel when the people that get to go are people of extraordinary wealth and privilege.
>> reverend abernathy was protesting at cape canaveral. wf all these things that are wrong with the world. why are we spending these billions of dollars to send people to space? and i think we as a society, we as human beings, we have our dna as exploration. so when we explore, we bring new things back down to the planet. we have spinoffs, we have these other things. but i think that democracization is going to be something that happens no matter what. it becomes from the most diverse teams. that's been proven scientifically. if they realize that we're going
to get the best solutions for climate change, for people working together by bringing diverse minds, colors, genders, races together, we'll solve these problems. >> dr. gemson, let me bring you into the conversation again. folks that aren't space geeks may not recall that it was you in 1992 who broke the color barrier, there's a fantastic picture from september of 1992. and it was also, we should point out, the first group of astronauts selected to travel out of this world after the challenger, ploegs. explosion. so after you land, you come back down to earth. you're all amped up. what do you feel like when you return from space? how do you return to some semblance of normalcy? >> i'm going to clean some stuff
up real quick. i was in the first class of astronauts chosen after the challenger accident and my application frs in at the time of the accident. when i went up into space in 1992, to my chagrin, i was the first woman of color in the entire world to go into space. the reason i say that is because when i was a little girl, assuming i would go into space, assumed there would be many people and different kinds of people. that gets to the democratization that we were talking about. we have to make sure that lots of people are involved, not only as astronauts going up, but in the bulding the development of those things we came back in a different mission because i had been up for a number of days and done lots of, permits. i came off.
i was excited to be back and share what i had seen and make sure other people know they have the right to participate and to be involved. and this is where i think we have to really pay attention to what's happening today. so many kids looked at the stars and wondered where they were. in space exploration, it's part of us not buzz of 1957, but because our ancestors noticed the movement of the stars and the heaven and were part of space exploration. that's what i wanted to bring in. this isn't just about rocket science. also about how we view space. how do we use space. do we use it for remote sensing
and agriculture, all of these things are really important. that's the reason we have to have lots of people involved. and we have to understand that space is our collective resource. our collective resource. >> amen to that. standby. i should probably clarify that because i'm sure someone will say something, i'm not related to an astronaut. >> you never know. >> that's true. that's that a good point. we're going to take a quick break. any minute now we are expecting to hear from jeff bezos and the blue origin crew after that triumphant return from space. we'll talk to a reporter who followed blue origin for years now. how far the company has come, what to expect next. that and more, as we continue our special coverage of the blue origin launch.
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right now we are waiting for a news conference to start in texas. we are going to be hearing from that crew that just made history. jeff bezos, his brother, two others completing a trip into space. the whol thing lasting about ten minutes. take a listen to some of the audio from inside that capsule. >> whoo. oh wow, wow, wow. >> it's dark up here.
>> pretty incredible. you can hear the excitement in their voices. i want to bring in someone who has been listening this morning. she's the senior science reporter for the verge. thank you for being on with us fpz. >> good morning, thank you for having me. >> you're a former houston kid. puff been covering exploration for years. welcome to our special coverage. i want to guf you an opportunity to talk about your personal reaction to what we have seen unfold this morning. >> i was actually i just tweeted this out. i have been following this company for so long. i wrote about their first time landing the "new shepard" when no one was on board. it's surreal to finally see people on this flight after following test lauj after test launch. they finally made it happen.
it's hard not to have a smile on your face and see them be successful. >> your colleague over at the verge wrote a piece called "the space tourism industry is stuck in its billionaire phase." the space industry is far from being a able to offer services to the rest of the public. to get there, they will have to clear several hudles. can these rockets reliably fly humans on multiple missions. if there is a hitch like a fatal sdnt, can the market survive a damaged reputation. can someone buy a ticket to space as they can book an expensive flight, instead of just the ultrarich. as someone with a unique perspective on this new industry, when do you think we'll see a day when commercial flights to space might be accessible to the average person? >> i feel like that's the question i have been asking since i have been covering space this whole time.
look at where we're agent right now. it does seem a little depressing. you have to pay $250,000 for a ticket to fly with virgin galactic or win a raffle or bid $28 million to get a ticket or you can be someone's brother. right now, the barrier to entry seems almost insurmountable for people like me. but the whole point of commercial space industry is we start off at the top and then we try to work our way to a place where it is affordable and sustainable. that's going to come with lots of reflights, being more efficient in refurbishing the vehicles. when they go to space, how long does it take to fix them when they dom back. that goes a long way to decreasing the costs and that goes to decreasing the costsover the ticket to fly with them. i still don't know the answer to that question, but with flights like today, that's the first
step. yes, we have some very special and rich people on board today, but perhaps this will go towards that day of where, okay, maybe you don't need to put down your house mortgage in order to fly to space. >> or a couple mortgages. >> multiple houses. >> as we watch that capsule descend. i'm going to ask you the question that so many have asked. if given the opportunity, would you go up? >> absolutely. >> i knew that was going to be it. >> you can't say no to an opportunity like that. >> you can. >> no, i would absolutely jump at the chance. it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. but perhaps one day it won't be a once in a lifetimen opportunity. maybe it will be something we all can enjoy. i'm not sure if it we're there yet. the next few years will be really important when it comes to whether or not this is a business that is sustainable and something that we all cannen joy and not be elite and wealthy. >> i want to ask about the book
you're writing. would you go? >> i would. i don't think my wife would allow me to. >> would you? >> no. not saying anything about the coverage, buts that a hard pass for me. i'm a heights person. there's this i think you raise an interesting point, an interesting tension we have seen this morning on the one hand the optimism about space exploration and the other hand the cynicism. that's something that you have drawn out in this discussion. let me focus on the optimism and the heart piece of this. you're writing a box on female astronauts, women astronauts during the shuttle era. we have to talk about somebody who i know a lot of people are looking forward to hearing from this morning. 82-year-old wally funk, who was in the capsule. as we have been talking about, she burst out of it. there she is arms open wide
embracing this moment. she's on the big stage here. it's been such a joy to watch her do the interviews in the run up to the launch. now we're moments away from getting to hear from her. she was part of the group of 13 women who trained to become astronauts, but were never allow ed to go into space. he's in the record books as the oldest person ever to go to space. talk about this moment means. >> you just look at her face and how can you not spiel when you see the enthusiasm bursting from her being. but you bring up an importanten point. when wally was trying to go to space, nasa was only allowing people that could fly jet aircraft. this were the only ones that were qualified. while she was such an accomplished pilot, the military would not allow women to fly jets for them. so through this crazy catch 22, she was not qualiied to become
an astronaut. but look at her. she's lived in two different eras we have gone from that kind of space travel, where we have women flying all the time and we have someone like her being able to achieve her life-long dream. we have a long way to go. it's still predominantly white men who have flown, but we're getting this. the book i'm writing talks about the first six women that nasa admitted to their astronaut core in 1978 and they were really trailblazers when it came to female representation and showing that women can fly to space just as easily and maybe even better than the men can. >> lauren grush, you have been a fabulous expert and reporter to have on our show. thank you so much for talking to us on our morning of special coverage as we are moments away from hearing from jeff bezos and the other crew members. we expect this news conference to bring.
we're going to bring it to you live. i want to bring back a couple other folks. both former nasa astronauts. so we have talked a bit about the big picture, philosophical piece of this launch. we have talked about the brains and the science behind it. i want to stay on this topic of wally funk. and what we might hear from her. lauren put it well. can you talk about the impact to young women. of seeing not just you on our air today and everything you have done and the accomplishments you have had talking about this, but to see wally funk, to look at somebody, even like an 18-year-old and to look and say, hey, that's the next generation of potential space pioneers here. >> so let me just add a little bit to what lauren said. when wally funk and the mercury 13, they were tested for their suitability. they did better than men. they were not rejected because of the jet training. they were rejected because
lyndon johnson, a civil rights advocate, wrote on a memo stop this now. so it was a choice. it wasn't just about whether they were jet pilots or not. it was a choice. there were a couple women, at least one other woman who had flown a jet at the that time. these are conscious decisions. what i think we see with wally funk and with oliver there, is the wide range of humans who can be involved. i'm just going to leave it there. the wide range of humans. and that's not just for kids, that's for all of us. i know you don't want to go, but there are a lot of people who want to go. >> i'm not anti. it's just my own personal choice. >> there are a lot of people and that's one of the things we need to understand about space exploration. you don't have to physically be on the ship to participate. all the folks on mission control who make that happen, people
using space exploration to understand agriculture. think about disease and apply technology. so we get confused that i wanted to go, but what i'm doing now is how do we use this to make life better here on earth. for generations to come, we're going to be here. that's just the truth. the vast majority of us are going to be here. we have to piece out. >> if we're lucky. i love leyland, but we would pull up a seat for you at the family reuniton like that. both cousins. i want to go back to blue origin
here for a moment. this capsule is designed to reach a higher altitude that richard branson's virgin galactic's vehicle. that vehicle was in space a bit longer than blue origin. the difference is just a matter of miles though. but it has become a bit of a rivalry between the two companies. help the average person understand the implications of those few miles and how it changes the experience in space. or does it? are we making much to do about nothing? >> they said that the atmosphere gets thin, so that's where space starts to begin at 100 kilometers. so blue origin looked to target that as the de facto level for space. but nasa and the military, we look at 50 miles as getting your space wings.
so in the grand scheme of things, cousin craig, it really doesn't matter. everyone is getting off the planet. you're going to get your space wings. i was at 240 miles up on the space station. so i'm not going to argue with them that you weren't at 240. so whatever, it doesn't really matter. the main thing that matters is that you are inspiring that next generation by doing something that's much bigger than your individual self. dr. may said you don't have to be an astronaut to be a part of this program. you want to instill that excitement into a scientist or engineer or mission control to be hping these people get up to the higher pinnacle. we all benefit from that when we're part of that journey together as one space family. >> really quickly here, a few weeks ago we were talking about
richard branson. it does seem as if space is having quite the moment right now in our country. to what do you attribute that? why does it seem there are so many people in this moment who are infatuated with the idea of the other worldly? >> i think everybody is always infatuated with space. what we're doing with the media is bringing it to them and talking about a new generation. because if you think about it, right now with everything going on, with blue origin and there's a space station up in space that has people on board who are doing remarkable scientific experiments. we had three probes from earth enter the orbit in february from three different countries we have voyage outside of of the solar system. we're looking towards the edge
of space. space is in a moment now, the reason we're focusing and paying attention is because of the way we're talking about it. we're talking about it being done by private industry even though private industry was always a part. i think the big issue that we have is to make sure we always have a way for people to be involved. because people love space. and they love its capacity to change our world. as we think about it, they love the adrenaline and the excitement of it. we need to keep ta in the forefront and keep our message clear. >> don't go far apt quick break as we await the start of this news conference. we're back with more special coverage of the blue origin launch and landing. we're expecting to hear from jeff bezos and the crew any moment now. we're going to talk about the area that was chosen for this launch. next. fpz s chosen for this
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history says: fine jewelry for occasions. we say: forget occasions. (snap) fine jewelry for every day, minus the traditional markups. ♪♪ . right now, we are waiting to hear from the blue origin crew at a news conference that should start any minute. this flight also have very big impact on one small town in west
texas. this is a mural of jeff bezos. it's just about 45 minutes away from the ranch where bezos and his crew took off a few hours ago. the town has a population of just under 2,000 people. he bought 100,000 acres to build a space site on a corn ranch. now hundreds of people have made their way to the area from all over the state to watch this morning's launch. bezos and his brother mark have long-standing roots in the southwest. born were born in new mexico and you're looking at visit you of a little surprise stop by bezos and his brother. the two of them stopping by the press room to share some texas barbecue for dinner. they also brought a token close to home. their grandmother's recipe. >> try this at home. this is our favorite recipe. >> before leaving, they joked
the barbecue would not be their last meal. thankfully, they were right. morgan on the ground in van horn, texas. just outside the launch zone bubble. morgan, what has all of this meant for that tiny town? >> reporter: it's meant a lot. and i can tell you the last 15 years since he acquired blue origin's property in 2005 has really started to at least transform that outer area there. it are mains to be seen how many how much of a direct impact it will have in the town, but i can tell you it marks a momentous occasion. there were 15 test flights before this it one, but this being the first now successfully manned flight. it's a good sign of things to come. and it was interesting how bezos went about sharing the news for thiz plans here. back when he acquired that property just outside of van horn, he walked into the town's local paper. it's a weekly paper and
introduced himself and said i want to go to space from essentially right outside your town. helping that paper break the big story that we're talking about here today. since then they have only grown that property to 100,000 acres. so about an average size for a texas ranch. and i can tell you that we already are seeing the impact of blue origin start to trickle into this community, not just about the people who showed up for the launch, but yesterday we heard from several people who have family members living here in van horn. this was a community right on interstate 10 or about two hours east of el paso. they are excited to see this potential growth only grow going forward. because most people will pull over and fill up on gas and keep on driving. >> morgan, thank you. appreciate that. you're looking live now at the
site of the news conference. we're going to listen in now. >> another round of applause. without further adieu, it's time to pin these four wonderful people astronauts. with that, i'd like to introduce to the stage jeff ashby the senior director of safety and mission assurance as well as former commander. >> i am deeply honored today to represent all the blue origin employees, especially the new "shepard" team, past and present, in awarding wings to the first four blue origin astronauts. these astronauts will wear a set of wings in the shape of the letter "."
it represents the road to space and it's the crossbar. at the top, a tiny blue sapphire to remind these folks a that they are from planet earth. and that they have a mission to protect this home. with that said, oliver, would you join me. [ applause ] [ cheers ] >> they didn't make this easy. >> i practiced. >> oliver, you have received
mark, i hope this experience will help you to continue to do the great things you're doing for human kind. congratulations. >> thank you. >> jeff, would you join me please. >> i'm so happy. there are few people i know more deserving of this, jeff. seriously. and i don't know what you're going to do next, but i can't wait to watch. congratulations.
>> the first four of millions to follow. >> again, the newest international astronaut, the crew of new shepard, congratulations all four of you. [ applause ] >> so, without further ado, how was it? jeff, what was it like? was it everything you imagined? >> i'm going to answer that question, but just real quick, i want to thank a few people. >> please. >> first of all, all of the engineers at blue origin who have toiled hard to get this done. the people who built the vehicle, all of our manufacturing people, this is a big team. they've been working on it for many years and they have done an extraordinary job of building the most reliable, most beautiful, most fun -- i mean, i can vouch for that, and i'll get to that in a second, vehicle,
and we owe them a deep gratitude and the people who kept us safe today who operated the vehicle, our trainers, everybody, it's just huge. i also want to thank the town of van horn. this is a small and amazing little town, and we're making a dent in it, and we appreciate you for allowing us to be a part of your town, and then i also -- i want to thank every amazon employee and every amazon customer because you guys paid for all this. [ laughter ] so seriously, for every amazon customer out there and every amazon employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. it's very appreciated. [ applause ] and you know, now on how it felt -- oh, my god!
[ laughter ] my expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded. the -- we were talking about this a little bit in the car ride on the way back and -- i don't know. the zero g piece may have been one of the biggest surprises because it felt so normal. it felt like -- almost like humans evolved to be in that environment, which i know is impossible, but it felt soy is reason and peaceful and the floating. it's actually much nicer than being in full, one gravity. it's a very pleasurable experience just from the sheer -- just the way it feels and the tactfulness of it. the -- you know, the most profound piece of it for me was looking out at the earth and looking at the earth's atmosphere. every astronaut, anybody who has been up in space, they say this, that is changes them and they
look at it and they're kind of amazed and awe struck by the earth and its beauty and its fragility, and i can vouch for that. when we're sitting in this room and driving our cars and moving around the planet in our normal way, the atmosphere is so gigantic. 30-year these tiny little things and the planet, the atmosphere is so big, but when you get up above it, what you see is actually incredibly thin. it's this tiny, little fragile thing and as we move about the planet we're damaging it. so that is, you know, that's a very profound -- it's one thing to recognize that intellectually. it's another thing to actually see with your own eyes how fragile it really is and that was amazing. who wants to add? >> oliver, you want to tell us how it was? our first paying customer, do you feel like you got your money's worth, sir? [ laughter ] >> no, it was so amazing to see this from above and to move
around -- yeah. i totally agree. it feels so natural, almost like we should be doing this, and i hope that we are one of the first and let's hope that many, many more people can do this because this experience, you should share with more and more people. it is so amazing. >> and a special congratulations to you on becoming the youngest person to have ever flown in space. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> you brought with you up there the next generation of space explorer, but certainly another flag up there, the netherlands. to everybody out there, the netherlands, there's the new dutch flying man. there you go. [ laughter ] >> you should say what you told me in the car about the g-forces. i thought that was very interesting. >> i was surprised. they had told us what g forces would feel like on the way up and again, it's one of those things that you hear about and
anticipate, but you really feel them on the way up and it was incredibly exhilarating and on the way back down what i had not anticipated. we had 5 gs briefly on the way back down and that's a lot of pressure and unfortunately during the -- the -- the status check at each astronaut by the time they got to astronaut demo which was the name i was flying under i was at 5g and astronaut demo, how are you doing? i'm doing okay? i had a hard time responding, but i'm not sure what that video footage will look like. not very pretty. it was so exciting. [ laughter ] >> if you haven't figured it out yet, wally might be the oldest person ever in space and oliver the youngest person in space and my brother is the funniest person in space for sure. i wanted to do a couple of things before we go to the next questions which is i want to recognize two people here in the
audience. we are honored today to have allen shepard's daughter, laura and julie. can you stand up just briefly so we can see you? [ applause ] and of course, allen shepard was an apollo moonwalker and has a gigantic list of accomplishments, but for our purposes today, the thing that is most interesting about allen shepard is that he is the namesake for this vehicle new shepard and that was because the mission profile that we did today is very similar to the one that allen flew when he became the first american in space i guess 60 years ago. so we are very honored to have you guys here. thank you for joining us. it's incredible. i got some pictures with them backstage, and those are getting blown up big. thank you.
[ laughter ] and we have a couple of things we flew. >> so we had the opportunity to bring with us -- it was actually on loan from the explorers club. we were able to fly with a piece of canvas from the wright flyer. so the plane that the wright brothers flew, we brought a piece of that canvas with us which was really powerful as well as a bronze medallion that was made from the first hot air balloon flight in 1783 which was the first time man ever, you know, left the earth and controlled flight. so we were very thrilled to be able to bring both of those along with us. >> and we thought those precious objects back. >> yes, we did. and the explorers clubs will be pleased about that. >> we have one more thing that i would like to show you, someone who has the goggles, could you please bring them up to me? would you hold that for me? >> this is incredible.
>> so, all right. just stand. we also flew -- these are amelia earhart's goggles, the ones she flew across the atlantic with solo, and you can see she put tape over them to have less light come in because it was just so bright all of the day and she was flying for so long and they're just -- i like to think that if amelia were here she'd be very, very proud of wally. [ applause ] >> and i just can't resist doing this. [ laughter ] thank you, amelia, wherever you are, we hope you're watching all of this. precious cargo. there you go.
>> and while on that note, wally -- >> oh, i'm sorry. >> thank you. lauren just remained me. i have one more thing which -- christina, i might need your help on this. mom, could you come up for a second? where's my mom? you don't have to come up. i can come to you. i have -- i wore this -- i wore this necklace -- i wore this necklace, and it is a feather and i wore it up in space and now it's for you. [ applause ] >> i would put it on her myself, but i need my reading glasses. [ applause ]