Jeff Bezos is about to take off on the first flight of his space travel company with people on board.
The founder of Blue Origin and Amazon will become the second billionaire to ride his own rocket when he launches from West Texas on Tuesday with his brother, an 18-year-old Dutchman and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer. from Texas, the youngest and oldest to ever leave the planet.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is ready to blast off with its eclectic group of passengers on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Bezos aims at an altitude of about 66 miles, more than 10 miles higher than Richard Branson’s trip on July 11.
The capsule is fully automated, so there is no need for trained personnel on the fast up and down flight, which is expected to take just 10 minutes. Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane needs two pilots to operate.
Bezos’s trip follows 15 test flights into space since 2015, all unoccupied. If successful, Blue Origin plans two more passenger flights by the end of the year.Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, pioneering aviator Wally Funk and recent thigh school graduate Oliver Daemen pose before their scheduled flight. Photographer: Blue Origin / Reuters
The company has yet to open ticketing to the public and is filling upcoming flights with those who participated in last month’s $ 28 million charity auction for the fourth capsule seat.
The mystery winner pulled out of Tuesday’s release due to a scheduling conflict. That opened the way for Oliver Daemen, a Dutch college-bound student whose father was one of the unsuccessful bidders.
Also flying Tuesday is Bezos’ younger brother Mark and Wally Funk, one of 13 female pilots who went through the same tests in the early 1960s as NASA Mercury astronauts, but failed to make the cut because they were women.
Not everyone in the remote, desert town of Van Horn was enthusiastic about the drama unfolding 40 kilometers to the north.
“It is a luxury that will be reserved for the rich,” said the owner of the pizzeria Jesús Ramírez. He planned to watch the morning launch from his restaurant patio with a cup of coffee.