What Jeff Bezos’ successful Blue Origin launch means for space tourism

CNBC.com’s MacKenzie Sigalos brings you the day’s top business news headlines. On today’s show, CNBC digital breaks down the state of the space tourism industry after Jeff Bezos’ successful spaceflight. Plus, Apple pushes out its reopening plans as the delta variant of Covid-19 takes hold in the U.S.

Jeff Bezos reaches space on Blue Origin’s first crewed launch

For 10 minutes and 10 seconds on Tuesday, Jeff Bezos wasn’t the richest man on Earth.

His Blue Origin company launched him into spaceflight history on Tuesday. Its first crewed New Shepard rocket blasted off from the Texas desert for the brief flight, also carrying his brother and the oldest and youngest people to ever have flown in space.

“Best day ever!” Bezos said after touchdown. “My expectations were high and they were dramatically exceeded.”

The capsule carrying the Blue Origin crew accelerated to more than three times the speed of sound before it reached beyond the 80 kilometer boundary (about 50 miles) the U.S. uses to mark the edge of space. The crew capsule reached an altitude of 107 kilometers (66 miles), and the rocket hit a top speed of 2,233 mph during the launch.

Bitcoin drops back below $30,000, heads toward new low for the year

The price of bitcoin dropped below $30,000 late Monday night for the first time since Jun. 22, dragging other digital coins lower with it.

Bitcoin is trading in the $29,000 range, about 3% lower on the day, according to Coin Metrics. Ether is down 1.25% and XRP fell 4%. Even with the plunge bitcoin is up 2.3% for the year, according to CoinDesk data. Ether and XRP are both up about 140% for the year.

The plunge came amid news that the New Jersey Attorney General issued a Cease and Desist Order against the New Jersey-based crypto services firm BlockFi, ordering it to stop offering interest-bearing accounts, according to Forbes and later confirmed on Twitter by the company CEO.

It’s official: The Covid recession lasted just two months, the shortest in U.S. history

The Covid-19 recession is in the books as one of the deepest — but also the shortest — in U.S. history, the official documenter of economic cycles said Monday.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the contraction lasted just two months, from February 2020 to the following April.

Though the drop featured a staggering 31.4% GDP plunge in the second quarter of the pandemic-scarred year, it also saw a massive snapback the following period, with previously unheard of policy stimulus boosting output by 33.4%.

“In determining that a trough occurred in April 2020, the committee did not conclude that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity,” the NBER said in a news release. “The committee decided that any future downturn of the economy would be a new recession and not a continuation of the recession associated with the February 2020 peak. The basis for this decision was the length and strength of the recovery to date.”