Blue Origin boss Jeff Bezos has recently announced that he will fly aboard the New Shepard rocket, built and launched by the space company he runs.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend,” the billionaire posted on his Instagram. “To see the Earth from space changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, and humanity. I want to go on this flight because it’s the thing I wanted to do my whole life,” he continued in the video posted.
The New Shepard rocket is due to take off on July 20, 2021 from Launch Site One, the company’s launch pad in West Texas. It will be the first manned flight ever launched by the private company Blue Origin, which the Amazon boss founded in 2000. The journey will last around ten minutes. This is just enough to spend a few moments above 100 km of altitude, the border of space by convention, without going into orbit around the planet.
For this first manned suborbital flight, Jeff Bezos invited his brother Mark Bezos. They will therefore occupy the first two seats of the capsule. A ticket for a third seat has been auctioned by Blue Origin. So far, the highest bid is $ 2.8 million. The identity of this wealthy space tourist will be revealed on June 12 at the earliest.
The announcement of this flight comes as Bezos is getting ready to leave his CEO position at Amazon, the company he created in 1994. It is rumored that the tech entrepreneur will then assume a greater role at Blue Origin, which has been falling behind competitor SpaceX, which has already conducted multiple manned space flight, including a trip to and from the International Space Station.
SpaceX, founded by Billionaire Elon Musk, has taken the lead in many aspects including rocket technology, manned flight and delivery capacity. It remains to be seen whether Bezos’ greater engagement will improve Blue Origin’s position.