Jeff Bezos is about to become the second billionaire this month to succeed in the sting of space, and he’ll do so aboard a rocket built by a corporation he launched. The founding father of Amazon, who stepped down as CEO earlier this month, is scheduled to take off early Tuesday with three crewmates on the maiden flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle.
Riding with Bezos on the planned 11-minute flight are going to be his brother, Mark Bezos, also because the oldest and youngest people ever to fly into space – 82-year-old pioneering female aviator Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old physics student. Daemen, whose seat was purchased by his father Joe, the CEO of Somerset Capital Partners, was placed on the crew after the winner of an anonymous $28 million auction for the flight had to postpone thanks to a scheduling conflict. New Shepard is about for taking off from the company’s facilities in Van Horn, Texas, at 9 a.m. ET. Blue Origin will have coverage on its website starting at 7:30 a.m. ET. it’s also streaming the launch on YouTube.
The date of July 20 for the inaugural flight is critical – it is the same day in 1969 that Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard Apollo 11’s Eagle became the primary humans to land on the moon. If all goes well, New Shepard’s suborbital flight will take the crew past the Kármán Line, the internationally-recognized boundary of space, at nearly 330,000 feet, or roughly 62 miles above the world. which will give Bezos and Blue Origin — which he founded in 2000 — bragging rights over Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson, whose flight earlier this month aboard SpaceShipTwo hit a peak altitude of around 282,000 feet, surpassing NASA’s designated Earth-Space boundary of fifty miles, but falling well in need of the Kármán Line.
Besides the altitude, the New Shepard launch has another key difference with Branson’s July 11 flight: rather than lifting faraway from a pad, the Mary Galactic’s vehicle was dropped from under a specially designed aircraft at about 50,000 feet before firing its ascent engines. Mary Galactic spacecraft also glided back to Earth for a Space-Shuttle-like runway landing.
By contrast, the 60-foot tall New Shepard launches a sort of a conventional rocket and its capsule is meant to return home dangling from three parachutes in a manner almost like NASA’s human spaceflights of the 1960s and 70s. However, its booster will return to the pad for a soft touchdown in order that it is often reused later. and therefore the capsule, with Bezos and his crewmates aboard, will come to the high plains of Texas using braking rockets, rather than splashing down stumped.
New Shepard, which is fully autonomous, is known as after Shepard, who in 1961 became the primary American into space. Once Bezos’ flight is complete, Elon Musk, the top of SpaceX, is going to be left because the odd man calls at the billionaire space race. Even so, Musk’s SpaceX, which has flown astronauts to the International space platform, may be a heavyweight within the commercial space business compared with either Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin.
Branson and Bezos hope to tap into the doubtless lucrative marketplace for space tourism, while Musk is more focused on working with NASA, gaining market share within the satellite launch industry, and on his dream to send humans to Mars. Even so, Musk turned up to observe Branson’s flight and has reportedly put down a $10,000 deposit to order a seat to fly a future Virgin Galactic flight, where tickets are thought to travel for $250,000 a pop, but it’s unknown if or when he will buckle in and explode.