How Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos Will Fly To Space – .

How Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos Will Fly To Space – .

CAP CANAVERAL, FL. – When Blue Origin first launches people into space, founder Jeff Bezos will be on board. No test pilots or flight engineers for Tuesday’s first flight from West Texas, just Bezos, his brother, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer and young tourist.

The capsule is fully automated, unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane which required two pilots to take it to and from space a week ago.

Branson’s advice? “Sit back, relax, look out the window, just absorb the view outside,” he said on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”.

Quirks and rocket differences aside, billionaire rivals are gearing up to throw just about anyone willing to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a brief top-to-bottom space jump.

A quick rundown of what’s in store for Bezos and his passengers:


Bezos started Blue Origin in 2000, a move he said prompted his high school girlfriend to observe: “Jeff started Amazon just to get enough money to make Blue Origin – and I can’t prove it to him. opposite. He said he was funding the rocket company by selling $ 1 billion in Amazon stock per year. Bezos caught the space virus at the age of 5 while watching the moon landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. He chose the 52nd birthday for his own launch. A lover of space history, Bezos named his rocket New Shepard in honor of Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and his largest New Glenn rocket still in development after John Glenn, the first American in orbit. Bezos, 57, who also owns the Washington Post, stepped down as CEO of Amazon earlier this month and last week donated $ 200 million to the Smithsonian Institution to renovate its National Museum of air and space and launch an education center. “Seeing Earth from space changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity, ”he said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do all my life. “


Bezos personally invited two of his fellow travelers – his brother Mark, 50, an investor and volunteer firefighter, and aviation pioneer Wally Funk. They will be joined by Oliver Daemen, a last-minute replacement for the winner of a $ 28 million charity auction that had a scheduling conflict. At 82, Funk will become the oldest person in space. She was one of 13 female pilots – the so-called Mercury 13s – who passed the same tests in the early 1960s as NASA’s Mercury 7 astronauts, but were excluded because of their gender. ” To finish! Funk exclaimed when offered a seat alongside Bezos. As for the Dutch Daemen – who at 18 will become the youngest person in space – his financial father made an offer on the capsule seat in June, but gave up when the price skyrocketed. Blue Origin called just over a week ago, after the unidentified auction winner moved on to a subsequent heist. The teenage fanatic of space, entering college this fall, is Blue Origin’s first paying customer; no word on the price of his ticket.


While Bezos isn’t the first boss to fly into space with his own rocket, he can claim to be attached to his company’s first human launch. He’s also aiming higher, with an expected altitude of around 66 miles (106 kilometers) versus 53.5 miles (86 kilometers) for Branson. Blue Origin’s 18-meter New Shepard rocket will accelerate into space at three times the speed of sound, or Mach 3, before separating from the capsule and returning for a vertical landing. Passengers will experience three to four minutes of weightlessness, before their capsule parachutes into the desert just 10 minutes after takeoff. That’s five minutes shorter than Alan Shepard’s 1961 Mercury flight. Blue Origin, however, offers the largest windows ever built for a spaceship. Bezos bought the desolate, parched land to launch and land rockets. The nearest town is Van Horn, with a population of 1,832.


Blue Origin has performed 15 test flights in space since 2015, carrying experiments, children’s postcards and Mannequin Skywalker, the company’s alternate passenger. With the exception of the booster crash landing on the first trip, all demos were successful. One rocket ended up flying seven times and another five. The capsules were also recycled. Blue Origin deliberately halted a few flights after takeoff to test the capsule’s emergency escape system. The pace seemed slow compared to the competition, and many wondered why Blue Origin – its motto Gradatim Ferociter, or fiercely step by step – was taking so long to launch people. Based in Kent, Wash., The company has been fairly silent on its launch plans. Bezos finally announced “it’s about time” after the last test flight in April, a dress rehearsal that saw simulated passengers board briefly before take off. The rocket and capsule that will be used on Tuesday have already flown twice.


Blue Origin is expected to open ticket sales shortly after Bezos’ flight and has already lined up some of the other bidders. The company did not disclose the cost of a ride. The fourth seat of the upcoming flight was auctioned for $ 28 million. As a result, nineteen space advocacy and education groups are awarded $ 1 million each, with the remainder to be used by Blue Origin’s Club for the Future for its own education effort. While the little New Shepard is intended to launch people on brief flights to the edge of space, the mega New Glenn will be able to carry cargo and possibly crew into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Fla. -being from the end of next year. Blue Origin also has its eyes on the moon. Its proposed lunar lander, Blue Moon, lost to SpaceX’s spacecraft in NASA’s recent business competition to develop the technology to bring the next astronauts to the moon. Blue Origin is contesting the contract award, as is the other competitor.


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