AMAZON founder Jeff Bezos will next week soar into space on board a rocket ship built by his company, Blue Origin.
The space tourism firm hopes to one day send paying tourists up on suborbital flights – here’s how to watch Bezos’ maiden voyage.
Blue Origin launch time and how to watch
Bezos and his brother are heading to space on July 20 on board Blue Origin’s spaceship, New Shepard.
It’ll be the company’s first human spaceflight. The launch is scheduled for 9 am ET (2pm BST).
That may change depending on the weather on the day, however.
A livestream will be broadcast beginning at 7:30 am ET (12.30pm BST) at BlueOrigin.com.
The company will also be sharing mission updates all day via @BlueOrigin on Twitter.
What will happen?
Bezos, 57, and younger brother Mark, 53, will be joined on the flight by two additional passengers.
The first to be revealed was Wally Funk, an 82-year-old woman who trained to be an astronaut in the 1960s but was never given the chance to fly.
A fourth seat was auctioned off to a mystery member of the public. The $28million raised from the sale will go to charity.
Blue Origin’s fully automated, reusable New Shepard booster will launch and land in West Texas.
The rocket-and-capsule combo is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 62 miles (100 km) above Earth.
That’s high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
Passengers will take in views of the curvature of the planet before the pressurized capsule returns to earth under parachutes.
New Shepard features six observation windows Blue Origin says are nearly three times as tall as those on a Boeing 747 jetliner and the largest ever used in space.
In total, the flight will last approximately four minutes.
It promises to be a landmark moment as US firms strive toward a new era of private commercial space travel.
After this, Blue Origin is aiming to complete a few more spaceflights before the end of the year.
We don’t yet know how much ticket prices will be.
In 2018, Reuters reported that Blue was planning to charge passengers at least $200,000 for a ride.
Blue Origin vs Virgin Galactic
Blue Origin and rival firm Virgin Galactic were recently locked in what appeared to be a race to be the first to send their CEOs into space.
Blue Origin announced its plans to send Bezos on his first flight aboard New Shepard on May 5. The firm set a launch date of July 20.
Within days, Virgin Galactic revealed that it would send founder Sir Richard Branson up on his first space trip on July 11.
Sir Richard successfully flew to 50 miles above the Earth’s surface on board the company’s VSS Unity spaceplane – nine days before Bezos.
The race sparked a sour back and forth between the two companies.
Ahead of Virgin Galactic’s launch, the company copped some flack from the official Blue Origin Twitter account.
While Sir Richard’s craft maxes out at an altitude of 50 miles – the edge of space as defined by Nasa – Bezos’ tops the so-called Karman Line.
That’s the internationally recognised boundary of space about 62 miles above Earth.
In a tweet on July 9, Blue Origin dismissed Unity as nothing more than a “high altitude airplane” that doesn’t even technically reach space.
Speaking to The Sun following his successful spaceflight, Sir Ricard shot back.
He said his response to Blue Origin’s remarks was to “simply ignore them”.
“I have my astronaut wings,” Sir Richard said. “Nasa, who are the global authority on this, have always recognised 50 miles as the boundary of space. These are the rules we work under.
“Blue Origin’s initial spaceship may do a handful or two handfuls of seconds more in space than us, but our future spaceship will do the same.”
He added: “It really makes no difference to the overall experience that people have.
“I think if anybody looks at the pictures taken during the mission, they will see that we were firmly in space.”
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In other news, Sir Richard Branson made history over the weekend after successfully reaching space in his commercial Virgin Galactic spaceplane.
The billionaire described his landmark spaceflight as “extreme in every way” and a “dream come true” in an exclusive chat with The Sun.
Aliens may have dropped life-detecting sensors onto Earth, according to a Harvard University professor.
And, China launched three astronauts into orbit to continue building its own space station.
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