A dream for 52 years: the founder of Amazon ready to take off in space

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A dream for 52 years: the founder of Amazon ready to take off in space


Jeff Bezos says his dream of space travel was born when, at the age of five, he saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon in 1969.

Fifty-two years to the day, the founder of Amazon and the richest man on the planet will fly in his own rocket to make this dream come true.

Mr. Bezos will be joined by his brother Mark and the two who will become the youngest and oldest to travel in space.

They will also be the first humans to take off aboard the New Shepard rocket built by Mr. Bezos’ Blue Origin. There will be no crew on board as the launch is fully automated.

Mr. Bezos will be accompanied by Wally Funk, 82 ans, who trained with NASA in the 1960s but was denied a space flight because women weren’t chosen for missions at the time.

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Dutch student Oliver Daemen, 18, was announced as the fourth passenger last week after the anonymous bidder who paid $ 28million (£ 20.5million) for a seat withdrew due to ‘a “scheduling conflict”.

The four will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before the capsule returns to the Texas desert approximately 11 minutes after launch.

Mr Bezos will of course not be the first billionaire to succeed in space, after being beaten by his rival Sir Richard Branson. Virgin Galactic launched nine days ago.

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Branson: “Everyone would love to go to space”

But some, especially within Blue Origin, have questioned whether Sir Richard has really reached space. It has reached 53 miles above the earth’s surface, beyond the threshold of space recognized by NASA. But Mr. Bezos will go above the so-called Karman Line 62 miles above the earth’s surface, the internationally recognized limit of space.

Both men insisted that the race to prove space tourism is viable is not a personal contest.

“There was one person who was the first person in space, his name was Yuri Gagarin and that happened a long time ago,” Bezos said.

“It’s not a competition, it’s about building a road to space so that future generations can do amazing things in space. “

But he, Sir Richard and another space-loving billionaire Elon Musk have yet to demonstrate how the price of such flights will ever be affordable to those who have no money to spend.

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Blue Origin’s launch will take place in a remote desert expanse purchased by Mr. Bezos for space flight purposes. The nearby small town of Van Horn is suddenly the center of the global space spotlight.

Mr. Bezos has long talked about building colonies for billions of people in space or moving pollutants to other planets and making Earth only residential.

His high school girlfriend once said that founding Amazon was never about funding his adventures in space, which he jokingly refused to confirm or deny.

That moment – 52 years in the making – is about to come.

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