Watch LIVE: Bezos riding own rocket on human spaceflight
VAN HORN, Texas — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is set to blast to the edge of space and spend a few minutes outside Earth’s atmosphere Tuesday on the first crewed flight from his firm Blue Origin.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule is now on the launchpad at the company’s “Launch Site One” facility in a remote area in the West Texas desert, about 25 miles north of the small town of Van Horn.
The reusable suborbital rocket system, which launches and lands vertically, was rolled out early Tuesday morning, before its scheduled take-off at 7 a.m. MT from a rural complex just north of Van Horn.
“The launch team completed vehicle rollout this morning and final preparations are underway,” Blue Origin tweeted at 4:53 a.m. MT.
In total, the flight will be 11 minutes, with approximately three minutes spent above the so-called Karman line that is defined by some as the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. After re-entry, the astronauts are set to descend back to Earth in their capsule with a parachute-landing in the west Texas desert.
The milestone launch in the modern commercial space race comes on the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing in 1969, though the space-faring landscape has evolved by giant leaps since then as billionaires emerge as key players driving the new race to the cosmos.
Bezos, who holds the title of the richest man in the world per Bloomberg data, has said the spaceflight will fulfill a lifelong dream.
He has also expressed hope that Blue Origin will make space more accessible to all, though bidding for a seat on the first flight reached a whopping $28 million. The anonymous bidder who paid $28 million, however, won’t make it on Tuesday due to “scheduling conflicts.” Blue Origin has not disclosed how much the teen who replaced the initial bidder paid for his seat.
The Amazon founder will be accompanied on the historic journey by his brother, Mark Bezos, as well as the oldest and youngest people ever to go to space, Wally Funk, 82-years-old, and Oliver Daemon, 18. Funk is a trailblazing female pilot who trained to be an astronaut during the original U.S.-Soviet space race era but was told they were only sending men to space at the time. Daemon is a Dutch student set to begin classes at Utrecht University this fall, and is the first paying customer for Blue Origin after the initial auction winner backed out.
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