While he may not have won the 2021 space race, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos just got approved to finally blast off into space. His rocket company, Blue Origin’s license was just OK’ed by the Federal Aviation Administration for him to be accompanied by three employees to see the stars.
The expedition stands as the first of the company’s human flights. The aircraft dubbed ‘New Shepard’ will launch at 8 am central time zone in a discrete location within the desert of West Texas. While there will be no in-person viewings permitted, there will be a live-stream of the lift off on the company’s official website.
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Bezos won’t be the only big name on the New Shepard. Soaring off into space along with him is a rather prolific figure in America’s space exploration: aviator Wally Funk. Funk was a member of the Mercury 13, a program in which thirteen women took all the preemptive measure and tests that are required to become an astronaut for NASA back in 1961. Funk states in a Blue Origin online video that she has 19,600 flying hours.
“I’ll love every second of it. I can hardly wait” Funk says in video for Blue Origin’s website.
Alongside her will be an auctioneer who paid $28 million for the trip up into the atmosphere, according to Captial.com.
The news comes just days after Richard Branson made history as the first man to go into space within his own aircraft. Though Bezos light heartedly referred to Bransosn’s Virgin Galactic Holdings rocket as a “high altitude airplane.” His company even went to Twitter to start a little billionaire beef.
“From the beginning, New Shepard was designed to fly above the Kármán line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name,” the tweet reads, “For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100 km up at the internationally recognized Kármán line.”
As the battle of billionaire wages on, fellow money man Elon Musk has seemingly sided with the likes Bransosn. According to The Wall Street Journal, Musk has already bought his ticket to fly Virgins into space for $250K.
“Thanks for being so typically supportive and such a good friend, Elon. Great to be opening up space for all – safe travels and see you at Spaceport America!” Branson tweets to Musk.
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Sources: Blue Origin, Captial.com, The Wall Street Journal
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