It has been a week since Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson got his astronaut wings, and now the world’s top billionaire Jeff Bezos is all set to join the club. On July 20, Bezos will blast off to space in it Blue Origin, a rocket built by his spaceflight company. The flight will be accompanied by Jeff’s brother Mark, aeronautics pioneer Wally Funk and the youngest astronaut Oliver Daeman.
Blue Origin, however, is comparatively more ambitious about its future plans than Virgin’s spaceplane. The goal is to go higher in altitude to which its reusable rocket New Shepard will soar and carry humans to the cosmic world and bring them safely back to Earth.
Founded in the 2000s, Blue Origin’s goal was to build floating space colonies with artificial gravity where millions of people will live.
“They’ve had 15 successful New Shepard uncrewed flights, and we’ve been waiting years to see when they’re going to start flying people,” Laura Forczyk, founder of space consulting firm Astralytical, told AFP, calling it an “exciting time” for fanatics.
The flight is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20, and Blue Origin will start its journey at 8:00 am Central Time (1300 GMT) from a secluded location in the west Texas desert called Launch Site One, nearly 25 miles north of the nearest town, Van Horn. You can watch live at BlueOrigin.com.
We still don’t know about the mysterious US$28 million winner that will take part in a future flight. He does not want to disclose his identity, the company said.
After blasting off, New Shepard will speed off to space exceeding Mach 3 with zero carbon emissions. The capsule will then separate from its booster, and the astronauts will experience lightness therein.
The crew will be at the Karman line for several minutes, the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space, at 62 miles altitude (100 kilometres). They will have a chance to appreciate the mighty dark Universe and from large windows of craft’s cabin. Then, the booster that separated itself will return to a landing pad just north of its launch site. However, before falling back, the capsule will install three huge parachutes and then a thruster to land in the west Texas desert smoothly.
The company has always been known for its confidentiality with a “self-imposed silence” policy until 2015. After that, it was properly acknowledged three years after its formation.
Blue Origin is not publicly selling tickets. However, the company has scheduled two more flights this year and further in 2022.
An analyst, Forczyk, said the demand for tickets truly depends on how these early flights operate. In addition, it also relies on how rapidly industry recovers from accidents, “which there inevitably will be because spaceflight is inherently risky.”