Amazon Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos will fly to space in July on the first space flight launched by his space research company ‘Blue Origin’. The Blue Origin ‘New Shepard’ spacecraft is scheduled for launch on 20th July; Jeff Bezos informed it on Instagram.
About the trip to Space
Joining Bezos on the flight will be accompanied by his younger brother, Mark, a former advertising executive and a volunteering firefighter. The third member of the crew will be decided by a charity auction, and the seat currently is priced at $2.8 million.
‘New Shepard’ will take few minutes from start to finish, with three minutes of weightlessness as the crewed capsule will surpass over an altitude of 100km, known as the Kármán line, the formal beginning for space. The booster rocket will land autonomously seven minutes after liftoff, and the crew capsule will return to earth on parachutes three minutes after that, with a planned landing in the West Texas desert.
Jeff Bezos in a video said that, “You see the Earth from space, it completely changes you, and it changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. I want to go on this flight because it’s the thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
Jeff Bezos has also shared a video on his Instagram, and in its caption he writes, “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
Here’s the post
View this post on Instagram
Adding further to what Jeff said, his brother Mark said that, “I wasn’t even expecting him to say that he was going on the first flight, and then when he asked me to go along, I was just shook. What a remarkable opportunity, not only to have this adventure, but to be able to do it with my best friend and brother.”
About ‘New Shepard’
Blue Origin, the space research company, was founded by Bezos in 2000. The company have had started testing its New Shepard vehicle back in 2015. The system is named after Alan Shepard, the second person, and first American, in space, and the flight is set to mark the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The New Shepard is designed with massive windows to give an exquisite view of Earth and it has comfortable seating for up to six people. After Bezos’s inaugural flight, bookings on future trips will be made available to the general public for an unrevealed price as for now.
The system comprises a single-stage rocket and crewed capsule. It has carried out more than a dozen successful uncrewed tests till now, the most recent being, April’s test flight with a full dress rehearsal for next month’s launch.
Blue origin Vs. SpaceX
Blue Origin has been in the race with Elon Musk’s spaceflight company, SpaceX. Both businesses have focused their research efforts on minimalizing the cost of launches, with their idea of reusable booster rockets. But where Blue Origin decided to serve the space tourism market first, SpaceX began to offer cargo services to NASA and other organizations that needed to place satellites in orbit.
Competition between the two has always been fierce and not just over technical achievements. SpaceX has been lobbying heavily against legislation that would split the contract to bring humans to the moon in two.
Blue Origin’s own orbital launch vehicle, New Glenn, was expected to be taking off by this year, but in February the company delayed its first launch till the fourth quarter of 2022. That rocket, named after John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, will be able to lift a 45 tonne payload into low Earth orbit, slightly less than the 64 tonnes that SpaceX’s flagship Falcon Heavy can manage.
The company made its own first crewed launch in May 2020, sending two NASA astronauts to orbit on the International Space Station (ISS). This was the first crewed launch from America since the final space shuttle mission which returned in 2011, it was also the first private flight to bring astronauts to the ISS.
SpaceX has announced their plans to bring space tourists into orbit “between late 2021 and mid-2022” in partnership with a company called Space Adventures. A seat on one of those flights is expected to cost somewhere around $ 50 million.