One of the world’s richest men is set to take flight next month on his own rocket into space.
Jeff Bezos is well-known for his creation of Amazon and ownership of The Washington Post. What you may not know is that he’s been investing millions into space travel with yet another company he owns, Blue Origin.
In February, Bezos announced his resignation from Amazon, the online retail giant, to occur on July 5, 2021.
Just 15 days later, on the 52nd anniversary of the first American moon mission to space, Bezos will board his own ship and blast out into space.
Not making it quite into orbit, the six-seater capsule will reach about 65 miles above the Earth, the edge of space, during the 11-minute flight. Passengers will experience weightlessness for about 3 minutes before returning to Earth.
The space trip is comparable in duration to traditional skydiving. Bezos will be the first billionaire to ride his own ship into space.
Fellow space company owning billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson have yet to take their own ships into space, though they both have plans. Branson says he will be among the first passengers aboard the Virgin Atlantic’s rocket-powered plane, set to take off later this year.
Bezos’ six-seater rocket is officially half-full. He will be joined by his brother and the winner of a month-long auction to be announced soon. The auction is currently at $3.2 million and is set to end Saturday. The winning amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s education foundation, Club for the Future, which encourages young people to pursue careers in science. The auction drew nearly 6,000 bidders from 143 different countries. It is unclear if the remaining seats will be filled and by whom.
ABC News reported that on Instagram Beso’s stated “To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.”
His brother was just as elated, “I wasn’t even expecting him to say that he was going to be on the first flight, and then when he asked me to go along, I was just awestruck.”
Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space…
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) June 7, 2021
The event will mark the beginning of space tourism, with Branson praising Bezos in a tweet saying that their two companies “are opening up access to Space — how extraordinary!”
Blue Origin’s launch and landing site are 120 miles southeast of El Paso, close to the Mexican border. After the capsule separates, the rocket returns to Earth and lands upright, to be used again. The capsule is also reusable and descends with parachutes.
Though Blue Origin has been criticized for moving too slowly compared to SpaceX and Virgin Atlantic, Bezos is following the company motto, “Gradatim ferociter,” which is Latin for “Step by step, ferociously.”
He also had it emblazoned on the “lucky” cowboy boots he wears to every one of his company’s space launches.
“Blue Origin, admirably, has gone about it carefully and has built a reliable and less ambitious vehicle and is likely to succeed,” said the director of Vanderbilt University’s aerospace design lab, Amrutur Anilkuma. “It is noteworthy that Bezos feels comfortable taking his brother for a ride; that is probably the best exclamation for safety and reliability.”
Blue Origin warns that passengers must climb seven flights of stairs to reach the capsule. They must also be able to sit for 90 minutes without access to a bathroom.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” wrote Bezos in an Instagram post. “On July 20, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”