Space tourism, we were promised, is finally kicking off! Jeff Bezos is all set to take a trip to space (his first move) after formally stepping down as Amazon’s CEO.
Well, he is not the first in recent times, as British billionaire Richard Branson reached the edge of space onboard his Virgin Galactic rocket plane beating Jeff Bezos by nine straight days.
It’s Dennis Tito
Technically, even Richard Branson isn’t the first to take a trip to space for leisure purposes. US millionaire Dennis Tito is the world’s first space tourist.
He reached the ISS (International Space Station) through the Russian Soyuz rocket in April 2001, shelling out a massive $20M (approx €17M) to embark on a space trip.
All said and done, three billionaires – Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk are competing to usher in a new era of commercial space tourism.
In this regard, we have listed down seven cool things that you should know about Jeff Bezos’ Space trip with his crew.
Announcement & Crews
Last month, Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, announced that he’d be joining Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to space on July 20.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of travelling to space,” said Bezos in a video post on his personal Instagram account. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother,” says Bezos.
The final crew consists of Jeff Bezos (Seat no 6), Mark Bezos (Seat no 4), Wally Funk- 82-year-old aviation pioneer (Seat no 3), and Oliver Daemen (Seat no 1).
Earlier this month, Blue Origin announced that 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will be the first paying customer to fly on board New Shepard. Oliver was offered the spot after the anonymous winner of the Blue Origin’s auction chose to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts. Notably, this mystery winner paid a whopping $28M for this rocket trip to space with Jeff Bezos.
Oliver is the son of Joes Daemen, the founder and CEO of the hedge fund Somerset Capitol Partners. Based in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands, Somerset Capital Partners is a private equity firm founded by Joes Daemen.
“Flying on New Shepard will fulfil a lifelong dream for Oliver, who has been fascinated by space, the Moon, and rockets since he was four. Oliver graduated from high school in 2020 and took a gap year before continuing his studies to obtain his private pilot’s license. This September, Oliver will attend the University of Utrecht to study physics and innovation management,” says the company in release.
At 18-years-old and 82-years-young, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk represent the youngest and oldest astronauts to travel to space.
What is New Shepard?
New Shepard is a reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line (internationally recognised boundary of space). It was named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space.
The rocket system houses a capsule with room for six astronauts. Every passenger gets their window seat. As per the company’s claims, the vehicle is fully autonomous with no pilots. Blue Origin has launched New Shepard 15 times so far since 2012 from its West Texas launch site.
Space trip itinerary
If you think they are going to orbit the Earth, then you are wrong! The entire trip duration is just 11-minutes. The flight crew, consisting of four, will take off from the West Texas desert. The suborbital rocket system will hit about three times the speed of sound — approx 2,300 miles per hour and will fly upwards until a certain altitude.
Post that, the crew capsule will then separate from the rocket and briefly continue upward before the capsule hovers at the top of its flight path. Astronauts will experience three to four minutes of zero-g and travel above the Kármán Line.
After that, the capsule will descend by deploying parachutes. Jeff Bezos and his fellow passengers will be further cushioned by shock-absorbent seats on the ground.
According to Blue Origin, around 7,600 people registered to bid from 159 countries. The company concluded the bid at $28M. 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 invent the future of life in space.
How to watch?
The event will be broadcast on BlueOrigin.com beginning at 11:00 a.m. CDT / 16:00 UTC. As of now, the liftoff is currently targeted for 8:00 am CDT / 13:00 UTC.