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Let’s go ! The New Shepard rocket takes off for the NS-15 mission.

Blue Origin

Only a week later Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson got his astronaut wings, another extremely wealthy human is about to make the trip to space. July 20, Jeff Bezos, Former CEO of Amazon will focus on a rocket built by its spaceflight company, Blue Origin. At his side will be his brother Marc, aeronautic pioneer Wally Funk and an unannounced auction winner on July 20.

The mission is the culmination of nearly two decades of rocket science, with the company officially appearing in 2015 and revealing to the world its reusable rocket, New Shepard. After six years and 15 test flights, he’s now ready to transport humans to the cosmic shore, gaze into infinity, and bring them back safely to Earth. And Bezos is on the front line to test the experience.

On Monday, the company cleared one of its final hurdles, receiving the official blessing from the United States Federal Aviation Administration carry passengers in space.

Here’s when and how to watch Blue Origin’s historic first crewed launch.

🚀 How to watch Jeff Bezos’ launch on Blue Origin’s New Shepard

The flight is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, and coverage of Blue Origin will begin at 4:30 a.m. PT (7:30 a.m.ET). For those who need a little more sleep on the west coast of the United States, takeoff is targeted for 6 h HP (9 h HE).

You can watch it live on BlueOrigin.com, but if there is a live stream link, we’ll have it here for you. CNET Highlights, on YouTube, will also feature all the latest and greatest from the West Texas desert, where the launch will take place.

What about other time zones around the world? Here’s when you can catch take off:

  • Rio de Janeiro : 10h00
  • London: 14h00
  • Johannesbourg : 15h00
  • Moscow: 16h00
  • Dubai: 17h00
  • New Delhi: 18h30
  • Beijing: 21h00
  • Tokyo : 22h00
  • Sydney : 11 o’clock in the evening

The New Shepard rocket

Named for the first American astronaut to go to space, Alan Shepard, Blue Origin’s new Shepard rocket has performed 15 flights to date. This 16th mission is known as NS16.

The rocket has gone through two major iterations since its first flight on April 29, 2015, but it will be New Shepard 4 that takes Bezos to the edge of infinity.

Bezos and his teammates, including Funk, who underwent astronaut tests in the early 1960s, will be lying inside a crew capsule, shaped like a rubber ball, for their ascent in space. The pressurized crew capsule has the “largest windows in space,” according to Blue Origin, and has enough space for six astronauts. It does not require any pilot – all the flight work is done by on-board computers.

In an emergency, the crew capsule can separate from the booster rocket at any time, deploy parachutes and return safely to Earth. Hoping that such a separation is not necessary.

“Battle” of billionaires

Richard Branson, the 70-year-old billionaire founder of Virgin Galactic, launched beyond the stratosphere inside VSS Unity, Galactic’s space plane July 11. The headlines said it all, “Branson defeats Jeff Bezos in space,” the New York Times read.

Branson and Bezos are both selling the dream of spaceflight to individuals, attempting to open up a space tourism industry that will allow “everyone” to take short suborbital trips. However, travel doesn’t come cheap. Tickets for the Virgin Galactic space plane cost $ 250,000 before sales were suspended after a crash in 2014. According to the New York Times, when sales reopened, they could be more expensive. It’s not yet clear how much a ticket aboard Blue Origin’s rocket will cost, but one seat sold for $ 28 million at auction.

The slogan of many space tourism missions seems to be to open up access to space for everyone, but the prices of six- and seven-figure tickets are not exactly in the realm of your daily space fan. . It remains to be seen how these prices will fluctuate.

While a small battle and space tourism are the focus of Branson and Bezos flight coverage, there are opportunities for science as well. The two companies will offer scientists the option of bringing payloads onto flights, with Blue Origin noting that astronauts on board can perform real-time microgravity experiments. New experimental techniques could be developed in suborbital space before being sent to the International Space Station for longer tests.

But perhaps before we even get to this, we need to answer a more pressing question. It’s an issue that Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin had to grapple with this week: where does space start?

Space or the edge of space?

There has been a bit of a billionaire feud over where exactly space begins. That’s why you’ve probably heard Branson’s flight described as reaching “space” or the “edge of space” almost interchangeably – where Earth’s atmosphere “ends” and space begins. is not perfectly defined.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration grants astronaut wings to anyone who flies above 50 miles (approximately 80 kilometers). Some scientists have argued that this is quite reasonable considering the distance at which satellites are capable of orbiting the Earth, and NASA uses a similar number to define where space begins for crewed missions. Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight saw it reach an altitude of about 53 miles, so it took to its wings.

But that’s not necessarily where “space” begins, according to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. The FAI’s Astronautical Records Commission, which “evaluates and administers the recording activities of human spaceflight,” uses what is known as the Kármán line to define where space begins.

This “line” is about 100 kilometers high. But the FAI descriptor is not legally binding, and there have been claims that space should start even further away – 1.5 million kilometers! With the FAA and NASA saying one thing and the FAI saying another… it all gets a little messy.

The gap means Branson’s flight into space is seen by some to require an asterisk. Blue Origin took a thinly veiled blow during the Galactic Flight on Twitter. “New Shepard was designed to fly over the Kármán Line, so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name,” the company tweeted.

What does it all mean? Well, Bezos and his crew are definitely going to ‘space’ as defined crossing the Kármán Line – and Blue Origin is keen to make a fuss about it. Does it really matter? No. Is this an extremely hot and pointless discussion for the purposes of space tourism? Probably.

When it comes to Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic with space tourism, another company has even more ambitious plans for 2021: SpaceX by Elon Musk.

SpaceX factor

That’s right, there is another incredibly rich man who also has space in his sights. The big boss of SpaceX with plans to establish a colony on Mars? Yes, SpaceX also intends to take private citizens into the cosmos – and much further than Branson or Bezos will be able to do with their spacecraft. A lunar mission, scheduled for 2023, take eight people “further than any human has ever been” from Earth, making a short loop around our natural satellite before coming back.

Another mission, with a much closer departure date, will have four private citizens around Earth in a Crew Dragon spaceship. It is slated to launch before the end of 2021 for a multi-day trip along a custom flight path.



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