Blue Origin: Jeff Bezos discusses his hopes for space travel
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Jeff Bezos’s space tourism company will launch its first crewed flight this Tuesday, July 22, on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The Blue Origin launch also arrives hot on the heels of Sir Richard Branson soaring to the edge of space aboard his Virgin Galactic spacecraft, VSS Unity. The suborbital flight will blast off from West Texas aboard the New Shepard – Blue Origin’s signature, fully automated launch vehicle.
Mr Bezos, 57, the mastermind behind the Amazon empire will be joined by four guests on this inaugural mission to space.
He will be accompanied by his brother and “best friend” Mark Bezos.
Next up is Wally Funk, the 82-year-old pilot and aviation trailblazer who in the 1950s was part of the Mercury 13 – a privately funded programme aimed at training women astronauts.
If all goes according to plan tomorrow, Ms Funk will become the oldest person ever to become an astronaut.
The Blue Origin launch is also joined by 18-year-old student Oliver Daemen.
The coveted fourth seat was originally meant to be held by an anonymous auction winner who paid £20million ($28million) for the privilege but had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts.
What time will Blue Origin launch into space tomorrow?
Weather permitting, the Blue Origin launch is pencilled in for 2pm BST (9am EDT) on Tuesday, July 20.
You will have a chance to watch the action live online tomorrow, here on Express.co.uk.
The mission has been dubbed First Human Flight as it will mark Blue Origin’s first crewed flight into space.
Unlike Virgin Galactic’s launch earlier this month, Blue Origin has not flown humans aboard the New Shepard yet.
Mr Bezos and his three companions will launch from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One near Van Horn, West Texas.
The flight will probably last about 11 minutes, giving the crew a chance to experience weightlessness and to see our planet from an unprecedented vantage point.
New Shepard will carry the astronauts in their capsule past the Karman line – the internationally accepted border of space some 62 miles (100km) up.
The rocket and capsule will separate, with New Shepard returning back to Earth much like a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket does.
After the capsule dives back into the atmosphere, it will slowly descend to the ground using three parachutes.
This is a very different launch profile compared to Virgin Galactic’s recent flight.
Virgin Galactic relies on a rocket-powered spaceplane that is first carried to an altitude of more than 45,000ft before detaching and engaging its engine.
The spacecraft then soars to an altitude above 50 miles (86km), allowing its crew some four minutes of weightlessness.
Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft then glides back down to Earth to land at the company’s base of operations, Spaceport America in New Mexico.
The New Shepard rocket is named after Alan Shepard, the first American to fly into space in 1961.
Blue Origin’s launch on Tuesday also marks the 52nd anniversary of humans landing on the Moon for the very first time.
Bob Smith, Blue Origin CEO, said at a pre-launch briefing: “July 20 is a special day in spaceflight history and at Blue Origin we chose many of our dates and our names to honour those who came before us.
“What began with Alan Shepard and Freedom 7 and what was accomplished on that historic day 52 years ago when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the surface of the Moon was an inspiration to me personally, to an entire generation and to the world.
“They made history by landing on the Moon and we’re working hard each and every day to be good stewards of that legacy.”
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