United States of America, Washington: Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, will launch his own rocket into space on Tuesday, a watershed event for a young industry attempting to make the final frontier accessible to wealthy visitors. Blue Origin plans to launch its first crewed mission on the 52nd anniversary of the first Moon landing, an 11-minute journey from west Texas to beyond the Karman line and back.
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, completed the journey on July 11, barely defeating Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in a battle of billionaires. But, like Branson, Bezos claims it wasn’t a competition.”There was one person who was the first person in space — his name was Yuri Gagarin and that happened a long time ago,” he said Monday on NBC’s TODAY show, referring to the Soviet cosmonaut’s 1961 achievement. “This isn’t a competition; it’s about laying the groundwork for future generations to do tremendous things in space,” he continued.
In comparison to Virgin’s spaceplane, Blue Origin’s goals are set higher, both in terms of the height to which its reusable New Shepard vehicle will ascend and in terms of its ambitions. Bezos, who is 57 years old, launched Blue Origin in 2000 with the idea of one day creating floating space colonies with artificial gravity where millions of people will work and live.
Today, the business is working on a New Glenn heavy-lift orbital rocket as well as a Moon lander that it hopes to sell to NASA.
New Shepard has completed 15 unmanned flights to put it through its paces and test safety features such as launching the capsule away from the launchpad if the rocket bursts or landing it with one fewer parachute.
The launch will take place at 8:00 a.m. Central (1300 a.m. GMT) from Launch Site One, a remote location in the west Texas desert about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the nearest town, Van Horn.
Weather conditions appear to be favourable, and the event will be streamed live on BlueOrigin.com beginning 90 minutes before the start time. Wally Funk, a pioneering female aviator who will become the world’s oldest astronaut at the age of 82, and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old Dutchman, will join Bezos on the mission. Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos’ younger brother and best friend, who leads the Bezos Family Foundation and volunteers as a firefighter, completes the quartet.
The winner of a $28 million auction for a seat, who had “scheduling issues” and will fly on a later trip, is noticeably absent. Daemen’s father, the CEO of a private equity business, came in second place in the bidding, allowing his adolescent son to become the firm’s first paying customer. New Shepard will careen towards space at speeds surpassing 2,300 mph (3700 kph) after lift-off.
The capsule separates from its launcher, and when it reaches a safe altitude, the astronauts unbuckle and experience three to four minutes of weightlessness. The spaceship reaches a height of 65 miles (106 kilometers), allowing the crew to marvel at the planet’s curvature as well as the inky blackness of the rest of the universe.