If all goes according to plan, the company’s New Shepard rocket and capsule will take off for an 11-minute trip, taking off and landing outside of Van Horn, Texas, at Blue Origin’s facility, dubbed Launch Site One. . The rocket will carry the spacecraft on a suborbital path before separating, allowing the crew to descend into their capsule under parachute for a ground landing. Take-off is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. EDT (1:00 p.m. GMT).You can watch the historic launch of Blue Origin’s first astronaut here and on BlueOrigin.com. The webcast will begin at 7:30 a.m. EDT (11:30 a.m. GMT).
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Crew member Wally Funk, 82, waited the longest for the flight opportunity. Aviator Mercury 13 tried six decades ago to join the NASA Astronaut Corps, but was excluded due to her gender and lack of military experience at a time when American women were excluded from pilots. military. The first American woman in space, Sally Ride, did not reach orbit until 1983.
When we asked Funk in a Interview with CBS On Monday (July 19) of her wait since she was “in her twenties,” Funk joked that she still felt 24 years old. Indeed, the octogenarian said she plans to do “somersaults and somersaults and do whatever I’ve learned to do” during her 19,600 hours of flying experience on Earth.
Bezos created Blue Origin in 2000 to pursue a childhood dream for space flights; He decided at a young age to become a wealthy entrepreneur to fund his career as an astronaut and became wealthy after founding e-commerce giant Amazon in 1995.
“People say they go to space [and] that they come back changed; astronauts are still talking about it, ”Bezos told NBC Today on Monday. “I can’t wait to see what it does to me,” added the longtime businessman.
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Referring to the “big picture effect” that some astronauts say they feel when they look at Earth from above, Bezos said he plans to see “the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere and see at what point. point the planet is fragile, that it is only one planet. “
Bezos’ brother Mark, a venture capitalist and volunteer firefighter, told CBS he was still in disbelief that he could experience an opportunity so rare “your big brother loves.”
He added: “I fell in love with space, with its promise, with its adventure. I’m so excited to be able to be there, to represent my mom, dad and our sister Christina, and to support Jeff. Making this dream of a lifetime come true is a real honor. “
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The crew is rounded out by 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, whose father (Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen) funded the trip for an undisclosed amount. Daemen is working on a pilot’s license and has been interested in space since the age of four.
Daemen entered the crew at the last minute after an auction winner, who had successfully bid $ 28 million for a seat on the first flight, was unable to seize the opportunity due to ‘a scheduling conflict. As the second bidder, Oliver stepped forward one flight from the second crew.
When asked by CBS how he was feeling, Daemen said it has been difficult to sleep lately because of the anticipation, “the excitement exceeds the nervousness” and that he can’t wait to get into space. .
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.