- Billionaire Amazon cofounder Jeff Bezos thanked Amazon's customers for funding his space trip.
- "I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer," Bezos said.
- Critics have said that Bezos should invest his billions on Earth instead of flying to space.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
After a brief trip to space on Tuesday morning, the billionaire Amazon cofounder and former CEO Jeff Bezos thanked Amazon customers and employees for making the trip possible.
"I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this," Bezos said during a post-flight press conference. "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."
Bezos - alongside his brother Mark, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old Wally Funk - took a New Shepard rocket created by Bezos' space company, Blue Origin, into suborbital space on Tuesday morning.
The crew enjoyed a three-minute period of weightlessness before descending back to Earth.
A live broadcast of the event captured the capsule's descent and the crew's excited reactions after having reached the edge of space and returning safely.
Bezos is the second billionaire to reach space in recent days, with Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson spending over $840 million on a similar trip earlier this month.
Critics have repeatedly blasted both Branson's and Bezos' space trips, saying that money used on building rockets could be used to combat the climate crisis or any number of other problems facing humanity.
Both billionaires have pushed back on that criticism by saying they're creating opportunities for new markets by forging a path to space travel.
"I say they are largely right," Bezos said in an interview with CNN this week. "We have to do both. We have lots of problems here on Earth, and we have to work on those."
Bezos has also directly invested in initiatives to solve the climate crisis, including a $10 billion philanthropic organization known as the Bezos Earth Fund. The nonprofit invests "in scientists, NGOs, activists, and the private sector to help drive new technologies, investments, policy change and behavior," its CEO, Andrew Steer, said. "We will emphasize social justice, as climate change disproportionately hurts poor and marginalized communities," he added.
The Bezos Earth Fund's goal is to spend the entire $10 billion by 2030.
Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (email@example.com) or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a nonwork device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.