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The winner will be chosen to fly together with Jeff Bezos and his brother on July 20 into space * will pay 23 m

The yet-to-be-revealed winner together with the Bezos brothers will fly for a suborbital flight - that is, reaching an altitude of 100 kilometers, staying for a few minutes in low gravity and observing the curvature of the Earth, and landing

With room for six astronauts, the spacious and compact crew capsule is comfortably furnished and each passenger gets their own window seat. PR photo, Blue Origin
With room for six astronauts, the spacious and compact crew capsule is comfortably furnished and each passenger gets their own window seat. PR photo, Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark will fly into space in New Shepard next month along with an unidentified man who paid $23 million in an auction for the seat held by Bezos' company Blue Origin

According to the plan, in a little more than a month, a spacecraft belonging to the "Blue Origin" company owned by Bezos is supposed to make its first manned flight into space. The spacecraft will launch from Blue Origin's launch base in West Texas and land back there a few minutes later. The spacecraft is able to carry up to six passengers to a height of about 100 km, to the upper limit of the atmosphere - from there it will be possible to see the curvature of the Earth clearly through large windows that allow the passengers to enjoy a wide view of the landscape. The spaceship is able to stay in low gravity for up to ten minutes, allowing the passengers to enjoy the experience of weightlessness.

If the plan goes into effect next month, Bezos will become the first billionaire to invest heavily in space - the first to travel in a spaceship. He will be ahead of Elon Musk and Richard Branson.

Retired from Amazon to focus on the space venture

In recent years, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has seen his commercial space company Blue Origin lose out to competitors. While SpaceX has made huge strides towards realizing regular launches to the moon and Mars (with its fully reusable starship), Blue Origin has been stuck with its launch vehicles in the development phase from hell. This is why Bezos announced that he would be leaving his role as CEO of Amazon to focus on his startup space company.

So far this decision has borne fruit with the successful suborbital test flight of the New Shepard rocket last April. To speed things up, Bezos recently announced that when the first manned flight of the New Shepard takes place later this summer, he will be among the passengers. In this mission scheduled for July 20, Bezos and his younger brother Mark will be the first billionaire space tycoons to be launched into space.

The announcement came on Monday, June 7 through the official Instagram accounts of Blue Origin and Bezos himself, in which Bezos wrote: "Since I was five years old, I dreamed of flying into space. On July 20th I will make this journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend." The post included a video in which Bezos went into detail about his motivations for flying himself, and why he invited his brother to join.

The video begins with Bezos referring to the total gaze effect, a term coined by "space philosopher" Frank White in 1987 in his book of the same name. As Bezos skillfully put it: "Seeing the Earth from space, it changes you, it changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It's one Earth." That's why Bezos and Blue Origin are working to prepare the New Shepard for suborbital flights for customers.

This is also the reason Bezos decided to fly himself and the reason he invited his brother to come with him, arguing that it would be "more significant" that way. "I didn't even expect him to say he was going to be on the first flight, and when he asked me to join, I was just shocked," says his brother. "What a great opportunity, not only to go through this adventure, but also to go through it with my best friend!"

In addition to being reusable, the New Shepard is a fully autonomous suborbital space vehicle designed to take astronauts and research equipment across the Kerman Line - the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space. For years, Bezos has been talking about how this vehicle will fulfill his company's vision of increasing accessibility to space by offering commercial flights — that is, space tourism.

To date, the New Shepard rocket has made 14 unmanned flights into space, and each time it flew to an altitude of approximately 100 km above the Earth's surface. The previous flight, which was on April 14 (SN-15), was a "dress rehearsal" for the first manned flight, and included actions designed to simulate the movements of astronauts inside the New Shepard capsule.

As with the previous launches, the flight will last about 11 minutes in total from launch to landing. After the New Shepard's first stage booster reaches Kerman Line, the capsule will be released and the passengers inside will experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see views of Earth. The capsule will then descend, open its parachutes and make a soft landing.

The other passengers will be the Blue Origin crew of astronauts, with one seat reserved for the winner of the online auction announced on May 5, the 60th anniversary of Alan Shepherd's historic flight in Freedom 7. On June 12, the winner will be announced and all proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Blue Origin, a club for the future. At the time of writing this article, the highest bid is $4 million.

If all goes according to plan, Bezos will be the first billionaire to fly into space in a launch vehicle he developed himself. It would be a nice achievement and no doubt also good PR for his company. By flying on the maiden flight (and with his brother) Bezos demonstrates confidence in his company and the services it intends to offer to the general public.

Here, too, he has a tough competitor - Sir Richard Branson, who has also been developing a suborbital sortie capability for a decade with the Space Ship 2 spacecraft, which is in advanced experiments. Some in the industry believe that Branson is preparing a surprise for Bezos and will fly ahead of him.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

2 תגובות

  1. If Bezos returns from space with severe physical injuries.
    That would be poetic justice…

  2. Blue Origin - the disappointment of the decade. The company that was founded two years before SpaceX and was identified at one point as its biggest competitor has not yet managed to launch a vehicle into orbit, despite its extravagant pretensions and the money thrown at it by its owner, who at times was the richest man in the world.

    The company now goes from rejection to rejection and loses hundreds of millions of $$ in contracts (or regains them, under the auspices of the political pressure of the owners). Right now it is disrupting the development of ULA's Vulcan-Centaur rocket because it is failing to deliver the BE-4 engine that is supposed to power the rocket's first stage. This missile was already supposed to be launched in 2019, but a launch is not yet in sight. Now ULA is engaged in the transfer of a Space Force launch (customer not wanted to upset) that were destined for Vulcan-Centaur to an Atlas-5 rocket of its own production (mission USSF-51).

    So what are we left with? An over-hyped amusement park facility for millionaires?

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