Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is set to be carried into space later today in the first passenger flight of his Blue Origin rocket company.
Blue Origin‘s reusable New Shepard space rocket will carry humans on board for the first time when it blasts off at 8am CDT (2pm BST).
Interested followers will be able to follow Blue Origin’s livestream video of the launch from 6.30am CDT.
As revealed in recent weeks, billionaire Bezos will be accompanied by his younger brother Mark and two other debutant astronauts, 82-year-old Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.
Funk trained as one of the Mercury 13 astronauts in the 1960s but never got a chance to fly into space.
Physics student Daemen will be the space tourism business’s first paying customer, with his ticket paid for by his dad, who is the founder and CEO of Dutch private equity firm Somerset Capital Partners (not to be confused with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Somerset Capital Management).
Funk and Daemen will be the oldest and youngest astronauts ever to travel to space.
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 19, 2021
After lift-off the rocket will, as Blue Origin has been at pains to point out, blast to an altitude of around 62 miles (100km) above the Earth, a level known as the Kármán line.
Bezos’s billionaire space-race rival Sir Richard Branson’s spaceflight on his Virgin Galactic spaceship earlier this month reached a height of 53 miles, which is outside the Earth’s atmosphere and is accepted by NASA as being where outer space begins.
But Blue Origin has pointed out that not only is the Kármán line the stated boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space as set by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, and where “96 percent of the world’s population” recognises as being the borderline, while also boasting that its rocket has bigger windows than its rival.
After four minutes of weightless fun for the passengers, New Shepard, on what is its 16th flight, will return to Earth with its descent slowed by parachutes and aiming for a touchdown in the West Texas desert.
Story by ProactiveInvestors
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