6:33 AM PT -- Success!!! Jeff and company made their way into space -- reaching an altitude of 66.5 miles -- and made their way back to Earth ... floating to a pretty soft landing just moments ago.
Everything went according to plan, and it sounds like the 4 astronauts were truly feeling on top of the world. Jeff stepped out of the capsule and hugged his mother, Jackie Bezos, his oldest son, Preston ... and then his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.
Blue Origin also released footage from inside the spacecraft of the 4 giddy passengers floating around ... and playing catch with ping pong balls. Incredible stuff!
Jeff Bezos is putting his money and his ass, quite literally, on the line for his Blue Origin aerospace company's first crewed mission into space at 6 AM PT ... and TMZ will be live streaming.
The richest man in the world and 3 others are hopping into the autonomous New Shepard capsule for the highly-anticipated journey into sub-orbital space. His fellow astronauts-to-be are Jeff's brother, Mark Bezos,test pilot Wally Funk and recent HS grad Oliver Daemen.
The entire thing -- from takeoff to landing -- is expected to last around 11 minutes. The capsule will take off from a remote area near Van Horn, Texas ... about 2 hours southeast of El Paso. It'll land in the Texas desert, after being slowed by parachutes.
When they reach the edge of space -- an altitude of around 65 miles -- Bezos & Co. will experience several minutes of weightlessness. For comparison ... Richard Branson's V.S.S. Unity only got up to about 53 miles. FYI, the FAA and Air Force recognize space at an altitude of 50 miles.
While Branson went up first -- winning the so-called billionaire space race -- Bezos' flight will make history in several other ways.
If successful, Jeff's space voyage will be the first to be unpiloted with a civilian crew. Wally and Oliver would also set records as the oldest and youngest to reach space at 82 and 18, respectively.
Wally, BTW, was one of the original Mercury 13 women who took part in training back in the 1960s to show women could meet NASA's standards to become astronauts.
The launch comes 9 days after Branson's successful launchand perfect landing in New Mexico.