Blue Origin will launch from West Texas today (July 20) on what promises to be an exhilarating day for the space tourism industry. Multibillionaire Jeff Bezos will blast off at approximately 2pm BST (9am EDT) aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The former Amazon CEO will be joined by his brother Mark, an 18-year-old student and guest-of-honour Wally Funk.
What you need to know about this flight:
- Blue Origin will launch at 2pm BST
- Jeff Bezos is joined on the flight by three other people
- Blue Origin’s New Shepard will fly to the edge of space
- The flight is expected to only last about 11 minutes
- The mission is called ‘First Human Flight’
- Blue Origin launches on the 52nd anniversary of the Moon landing
After Sir Richard Branson earned his astronaut wings at the age of 70 on July 11, Mr Bezos, 57, is about to follow suit.
The Amazon mastermind will become today the second billionaire to fly into space aboard a privately built spacecraft.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket will carry the crew above the 62 mile-high Karman line, before the four astronauts return to the ground in a capsule.
The mission marks the very first time a civilian will fly into space on a private spacecraft.
Oliver Daemen, 18, will fly instead of an anonymous action winner who paid more than £20million ($28million) but had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts.
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10.55pm BST: Spaceflight still out of reach for the masses – expert
Despite Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic promising to open up space tourism to the masses, experts fear the costs of spacelight will prevent most from leaving Earth.
Dr Ian Whittaker, a Senior Lecturer in Physics at Nottingham Trent University, told Express.co.uk it is unlikely these private ventures will help the general public get into space.
He said: “Until some new form of low cost, environmentally friendly thrust mechanism is developed it just is not going to happen large scale.”
Earlier this month, Richard Branson told the world “space belongs to us all”.
Read the full article here: Richard Branson promised a revolution – but ‘ridiculous’ prices will keep you from space
10.32pm BST: Jeff Bezos and crew ‘are go for launch’
The tech mogul and his crew have completed their pre-flight training and are ready to blast off this afternoon.
Blue Origin tweeted late on Monday (UK time): “Our astronauts have completed training and are go for launch. #NSFirstHumanFlight”
The crew will blast off aboard the New Shepard rocket from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One near Van Horn in West Texas.
After their brief excursion into space ends, their capsule will fall back to Earth and land in the Texan wilderness.
The crew of today’s launch consists of:
- Jeff Bezos, 57 – Amazon and Blue Origin founder
- Mark Bezos, 53 – Co-founder of HighPost Capital
- Oliver Daemen, 18 – Son of Somerset Capitol Partners CEO, Joes Daemen
- Wally Funk, 82 – Aviation instruction, FAA investigator and Mercury 13 astronaut candidate
Mr Bezos shared a touching video clip of his crewmembers on Instagram on the weekend, with the caption: “Love this crew.”