CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Blue Origin may have blasted out of this world, but there is a close connection here at home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

With the world looking on as the rocket carrying one of the world’s richest men launched into space, the successful manned mission represented a milestone in spaceflight that was made possible by some researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Oh my goodness, it was momentous,” said Dr. Ariel Ekblaw, the founder of MIT’s Space Exploration Initiative. “We feel so much excitement and enthusiasm for Blue Origin, it’s a really huge achievement.”

Ekblaw’s team helped make the early research flights possible. She says Tuesday’s 10 minute trip did more than just carry Jeff Bezos into space and back.

“We are at that cusp now of interplanetary civilization,” she said. “As the economy grows around space exploration, it will become more accessible and prices will drop, and that will become a huge success for everyone involved.”

The MIT researchers will be sending their equipment into space with Blue Origin again later this summer. They are working toward the day when the stars are within reach for everyone.

“We’re keeping an eye on that future where I can also send my future graduate students into space,” Ekblaw said.

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