Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, went into space on Tuesday morning for an 11-minute walk, happily embarking on a rocket and capsule system developed by his space company, Blue Origin.
Riding alongside the billionaire was Bezos’ brother, Mark Bezos; Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pilot and one of the “Mercury 13” women who trained to fly in space in the 20th century but never flew; and an 18-year-old high school graduate named Oliver Daemen who was the first customer to pay Blue Origin and whose father, an investor, bought his ticket.
Jeff Bezos is flying in space. Here’s what you need to know about Funk and Daemen being the oldest and youngest, respectively, ever in space. And the aircraft was signaling the first mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital space tourism rocket, a company that plans to use it to take the rich who want to have fun by riding great fun for months and years to come.
The Blue Origin capsule, with Jeff Bezos and staff inside, rockets from the ground.
Four passengers were stranded in their new New Shepard car at the Blue Origin launch site in rural West Texas just before the rocket turned on the engines at 8:12 a.m. CT, sending a speeding car more than 65 miles above the desert area, exiting up by 351,210 meters. At the height of the flight path, passengers were weighed down for about three minutes and allowed to unload in their seats to navigate and immerse themselves in the beautiful view of the earth and the Universe.
The launch was visible to reporters on the ground, a rocket floating in the almost cloudless Texas sky with a blurring noise. The bright flames of a rocket engine were almost like a star or a planet as it ascended into the sky. Bezos and its crew could be heard enjoying the live streaming of Blue Origin as they roamed around on a pill during a small part of the flight.
“It’s dark up here, oh my voice!” Funk could be heard saying.
The New Shepard rocket booster lands on the ground after launching the capsule into space.
Bezos has declared it “the best day ever” in his social media check-up when he arrived.
Why does Bezos do this?
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, just six years after the launch of Amazon, with the goal of making spaceflight more accessible and accessible. His few rivals in the industry – most notably Elon Musk and Richard Branson – have both started their own space jobs at the same time.
While Bezos ’ambitions for overseas are high, including space travel stations where people live and work, the New Shepard underground car is the first fully functional piece of space company built by the company.
Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has succeeded with rockets in space
And as Branson and Virgin Galactic did just nine days ago, Bezos decided to be one of the first people to board the airport as a sign of car safety.
“We know the car is safe,” Bezos told Rachel Crane of the media on Monday. “If it’s not safe for me, it means it’s not safe for anyone.”
Who is coming to fly to New Shepard?
To date, reservations have been offered only to participants at the Blue Origin auction which concluded last month. The successful, mysterious buyer who agreed to pay $ 28 million for a ticket, was expected to be on Tuesday’s flight, although the man made the surprising decision to arrange a later delivery because he “planned the dispute,” according to the company.
Blue Origin said it plans to fly two more New Shepard passenger planes this year. But the company has not yet commented on whether it will set public prices for tickets, nor has it indicated that Daemen, an 18-year-old Dutchman who flew with Bezos, had to pay for his seat. The company has always declined multiple requests for additional information on ticket prices.
But the company says the auction has provided a strong indication that there are more people who wish to attend: 7,600 people from 159 countries are registered to take part in the bidding war.
What does all of this mean?
There has been a massive blowback of billions in space, including a recent online application that received more than 162,000 signatures asking Bezos not to return to Earth.
Bezos, valued at about $ 200 billion, funded the company almost entirely out of its own pocket. And repeated promises of kindness and benefit to a ruined Earth are critics who are concerned that the wealthiest view the universe as their own.
However, Blue Origin and other billionaire space-based space companies have put forth a lot of talk about their technology that paves the way to a “democracy” of a place where everyday people – not just government-trained astronauts – feel the joy of space travel. These first underground tourist flights will be more expensive for most people, and that is not expected to change anytime soon.
Here is how Blue Origin, however, describes its long-term vision:
“Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos with the vision of empowering a future where millions of people live and work in space to benefit the Earth. “Blue Origin is working on this today by building a reliable and fully rehabilitated delivery system that is safe, low-cost, and caters to the needs of all public, commercial and security customers,” the company said in a statement.
It’s still in the early days, of course. The New Shepard rocket and capsule system is suborbital, meaning it does not absorb enough energy to stay in place for more than a few minutes. But the company is working on a larger rocket for that purpose – called New Glenn – and the moon he hopes to be used to fund NASA’s mission.
Bezos also spoke earlier about the “O’Neill colonies,” the idea of rotating space stations that could emulate gravitational forces such as Earth for passengers, into a habitat for people living in the future space.
Who will run the space stations? And will the passengers be employees or guests? Will space travel, if necessary to save humanity, be available only to those who can afford it? And is Bezos’ time and money better spent trying to solve world problems than by trying to escape them?
We do not know. There are a lot of unanswered questions and heated debates.
The media asked Bezos about the repatriation on Monday.
“They are right,” Bezos said of critics who say billions should focus their energy – and money – on issues close to home. “We have to do both. We have a lot of problems here and now on Earth and we need to work on them, and we always need to look to the future. That we were doing as a genre, as a civilization.”
After graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Rick got an internship at KYR and worked as a reporter, Rick is our community reporter & chief editor.