THE Jeff Bezos, The richest man in the world, today prepares to launch into space with the Blue Shepard’s New Shepard vehicle for a sub-orbital flight, another landmark that heralds a new era of private space travel. The American billionaire is expected to leave a facility in the West Texas desert for an eleven-minute trip to the edge of space, nine days after the British Richard Branson successfully completed the first sub-orbital flight for the space tourism company Virgin Galactic from New Mexico.
Branson was the first to go into space, but Bezos is expected to fly at a higher altitude – 100 km for Blue Origin vs. 86 km for Virgin Galactic – in what experts call the world’s first unmanned space flight with a crew of entirely by citizens. Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, the e-commerce giant, and his brother and unlisted company executive Mark Bezos, will be accompanied by the pioneering aviator Wally Funk, 82, and the one who graduated from high school Oliver Daemen, 18 years old, who will become the oldest and the youngest man, respectively, arriving in space.
“I am excited, but not worried. “We will see how I will feel when I am tied to my position”, said Bezos in an interview with Fox Business Network yesterday, Monday. “We are ready. The vehicle is ready. This team is amazing. I feel very good about it. And I think my passengers feel good too. ” Funk was one of the so-called Mercury-13 women group trained to become NASA astronauts in the early 1960s, but was sidelined because of her gender.
THE Daemen, her first paid customer Blue Origin, is going to study at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to study physics and innovation management from September. His father is the head of the investment management company Somerset Capital Partners. If technical or weather delays are ruled out, the New Shepard is expected to launch around 8.00am. Local time (16:00 Greek time) from Blue Origin Launch Facility One, approximately 32 km from rural Van Horn, rural Texas.
Wishes Musk to the Blue Origin crew
The New Shepard is an 18.3 meter high and fully autonomous rocket-capsule that can not be controlled from inside the spacecraft. It runs entirely on PC and will have none of the Blue Origin astronauts or trained personnel on board. Instead, Virgin Galactic used a spacecraft with two pilots on board.
The New Shepard will move at a speed of 3,540 km per hour at an altitude of about 100 km. in the so-called Carman line defined by an international aeronautical body that delimits the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. During the flight the crew will disengage for a few minutes of gravity and look at the curvature of the Earth through what Blue Origin calls the largest windows ever used in space travel. The capsule will then fall to Earth on parachutes, using an old-fashioned last-minute thrust that expels an “air cushion” for a gentle 1.6km / h landing in the Texas desert.
The reusable stabilizer is expected to return to the launch pad using brake mechanisms and ring and wedge fins for stabilization. Today’s launch is a milestone in the “billionaire race” to create a space tourism sector that, according to Swiss investment bank UBS, will reach $ 3 billion a year over a decade. Another billionaire tech mogul, Elon Musk, plans to send a full-fledged civilian crew on an even more ambitious flight in September: a multi-day orbital mission with his space capsule, Crew Dragon.
On Twitter, the Musk wished the Blue Origin crew “the best” for the launch. Blue Origin has not announced details of its long-term pricing strategy or how quickly it will intensify its flight frequency. CEO Bob Smith has said the next flight is likely to take place in September or October. Smith said the “willingness to pay is still quite high” among people interested in future flights.
The company seems to have a “reservoir” of future customers. More than 6,000 people from at least 143 countries participated in the auction to become the first paid customers, although the winner of the $ 28 million auction was eventually withdrawn from today’s flight. Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, has a net worth of $ 206 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He resigned as Amazon CEO this month, but remains its chief executive.