Bezos And Crew Members Prepare For The Launch Of The Blue Origin Space Flight
Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos and three of his crew members will take part in crash training on Sunday to prepare for the inaugural flight of his company Blue Origin to the edge of space, scheduled for Tuesday.
The suborbital launch from a location in the high desert plains of West Texas is a key test for Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft, an 18.3-meter-high and fully autonomous missile-capsule combo that is central to plans to develop a potentially lucrative Bezos is for the space tourism market.
The planned 11-minute drive from the company's first launch site includes the oldest person ever in space - pioneer pilot Wally Funk (82) and the youngest -- 18-year-old physics student Oliver Damon da Hare. Bezos, the founder and current CEO of Amazon.com Inc., and his brother Mark Bezos will be there when Blue Origin is launched.
The mission here will be the world's first unmanned space flight with a fully civilian crew. Blue Origin will not have astronauts or trained personnel.
The launch is expected nine days after New Shepard's rival Richard Branson's space tourism company Virgin Galactic successfully piloted a suborbital flight from New Mexico here with the British billionaire in its rocket plane.
According to the company, Blue Origin's training program includes safety briefings, a space flight simulation, a review of the rocket and its operation, and instructions on how to hover in the spacecraft's cabin after the capsule breaks Earth's gravity.
The "training" will help you feel comfortable and ready for space travel and your responsibilities as an astronaut, Blue Origin said in the document outlining the sessions.
New Shepard, which cannot be controlled from inside a spacecraft, is named after Alan Shepard, who in 1961 became the first American in space during a suborbital flight as part of NASA's groundbreaking Mercury program.
Like the Virgin Galactic flight, New Shepard will not go into orbit around Earth, but will instead bring the crew about 100 km up before the capsule parachute. Virgin Galactic's flight reached 86 km above Earth.
Billionaire Elon Musk's space company, SpaceX, promises to go higher in September and send a civilian crew on a multi-day flight to the Crew Dragon package
As an example of the tension in the high-profile "Billionaire Space Race", Blue Origin describes Virgin Galactic as failing to reach the 62-mile limit (100 km) – the so-called Karman Line – to define has been determined by an international aviation body. The boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space.
The US space agency NASA and the US Air Force both define an astronaut as someone who has flown more than 50 miles, as achieved by Branson in his flight.