Bezos brothers to ride Blue Origin’s inaugural human spaceflight
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO and Blue Origin founder, will be a surprise passenger on the inaugural human flight of New Shepard, the suborbital spacecraft system newly developed by Blue Origin.
Making the surprise announcement on his Instagram account, Jeff Bezos, 57, revealed that he has invited his brother Mark Bezos, 53, to join him on his microgravity spaceflight on July 20, 2021, that will also see four other as yet unnamed passengers onboard the reusable suborbital spacecraft.
Jeff Bezos Instagram announcement: https://www.instagram.com/p/CP0MSOqnYEo/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
US$188 billion net worth
Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, with a net worth of US$188 billion, said: “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of travelling to space.
“On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
June 12 deadline
Bidding is underway now at BlueOrigin.com and concludes with a live online auction on June 12.
The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help develop humanity’s life in space.
New Shepard consists of a booster segment and crew capsule and is named after NASA’s Mercury capsule astronaut Alan Shepard who was the second human to reach space – after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin – and the first American to travel to space on May 5, 1961.
The 60-foot fully reusable, vertical takeoff, vertical landing New Shepard space vehicle is designed to take six astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognised boundary of space located approximately 96km above the surface of Earth.
The combined vehicles launch vertically, accelerating for approximately two and a half minutes, before the engine cuts off.
The capsule then separates from the booster to coast silently into space.
After a few minutes of free fall back to Earth, the booster performs an autonomously controlled rocket-powered vertical landing on land, while the capsule drops softly under parachutes to land, both ready to be used again.
The New Shepard capsule is equipped with large windows, offering occupants a breathtaking experience as they lift off from Earth, reach suborbital space and return to Earth.
Making its maiden human flight from Blue Origin’s launch facility West Texas on July 20, 2021, a date that especially commemorates the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing, New Shepard will carry both the Bezos brothers and the rest of the crew to the Kármán line, where they will witness the borderless Earth and the thin limb of Earth’s atmosphere in a total flight time of approximately 11 minutes.
New Shepard has to date flown 15 successful consecutive unmanned test flights above the Kármán line and back to Earth, with its last test flight taking place on April 14, 2021.
Heated space race
Blue Origin is seeing heated competition from fellow American space companies to get paying private astronauts and payloads aboard their suborbital and orbital assets.
To date, neither Richard Branson nor Elon Musk has announced concrete plans about their riding their own space vehicles.