Blue Origin prepare for first human flight on New Shepard
Blue Origin will launch from West Texas today (July 20) on what promises to be an exhilarating day for the space tourism industry. Multibillionaire Jeff Bezos will blast off at approximately 2pm BST (9am EDT) aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The former Amazon CEO will be joined by his brother Mark, an 18-year-old student and guest-of-honour Wally Funk.
What you need to know about this flight:
- Blue Origin will launch at 2pm BST
- Jeff Bezos is joined on the flight by three other people
- Blue Origin’s New Shepard will fly to the edge of space
- The flight is expected to only last about 11 minutes
- The mission is called ‘First Human Flight’
- Blue Origin launches on the 52nd anniversary of the Moon landing
After Sir Richard Branson earned his astronaut wings at the age of 70 on July 11, Mr Bezos, 57, is about to follow suit.
The Amazon mastermind will become today the second billionaire to fly into space aboard a privately built spacecraft.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket will carry the crew above the 62 mile-high Karman line, before the four astronauts return to the ground in a capsule.
The mission marks the very first time a civilian will fly into space on a private spacecraft.
Oliver Daemen, 18, will fly instead of an anonymous action winner who paid more than £20million ($28million) but had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts.
This is a live blog. Refresh the page to see the latest updates below.
READ MORE: Blue Origin launch LIVE stream: Watch Jeff Bezos fly into space here
Blue Origin launch live: Here are the latest updates from Jeff Bezos’s first spaceflight
Blue Origin launch live: The New Shepard and crew will launch from West Texas
12.45pm BST: Blue Origin crew to experience 3 to 4 minutes of zero-g
After the New Shepard passes the Karman line, the four astronauts aboard will have up to four minutes to enjoy the thrill of weightlessness.
Blue Origin tweeted: “#NewShepard’s flight profile lasts approximately 11 minutes from launch to capsule landing.
“Astronauts will experience three to four minutes of zero-g and travel above the Kármán Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space.”
The crew will then fall back down to Earth inside their protective capsule.
12.35pm BST: Blue Origin on course to break three spaceflight records
Blue Origin will become today the world’s first private company to fly a paying customer into space.
Secondly, the company will help Wally Funk, 82, become the world’s oldest astronaut after NASA’s John Glenn.
The veteran astronaut set the record when he flew the Space Shuttle Discovery at the age of 77 in 1998.
Finally, Mr Daemen, 18, will become the youngest person to fly into space at the age of 18.
Blue Origin launch live: Wally Funk will be the oldest person to fly into space
12.08pm BST: World wishes Jeff Bezos a successful flight
As the Blue Origin crew prepares for the ride of a lifetime, spaceflight pundits and scientists worldwide have come together to wish them a great flight.
Chelsea ‘Foxanne’ Gohd, Space.com report, tweeted: “Wishing the @blueorigin crew and mission teams a safe and successful flight today!”
Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and former space station commander, wished Wally Funk a “great ride” and called her a “legendary pilot” about to realise her dream of spaceflight.
Even Virgin Galactic tweeted: “Wishing the entire @blueorigin team a successful and safe flight from all of us @VirginGalactic.”
11.45am BST: Blue Origin’s plans branded a ‘rich kid’s playtime’
Although Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic dream of bringing spaceflight to the masses, experts think this will not happen anytime soon.
According to Dr Robert Massey, Deputy Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society, space tourism is simply too expensive for the general public to be part of.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think there is a lot of hype around space tourism and we are very, very many years from this being a kind of market that the vast majority of people would have any ability to access.
“When you look at the ticket prices – even Virgin Galactic which is the cheapest one – clearly the overwhelming majority of people are not going to have $250,000 to have access to space.”
Read the full article here: Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin’s space tourism branded ‘rich kid’s playtime’
Blue Origin launch live: Mark Bezos, Jeff bezos Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk [Left to right]
11.20am BST: Jeff Bezos is ‘having a dig’ at Richard Branson
According to space commentator Andy Lound, there is a debate raging about the spaceflight capabilities of Virgin Galactic compared to Blue Origin
The Amazon founder will fly above the Karman line today – the internationally accepted border of space.
The American standard, however, states the border of space is 50 miles up – the altitude Virgin Galactic flies to.
Mr Lound said: “So there is a bit of a debate between people whether you really make it or you don’t make it.
“And to be honest it’s a bit pedantic really, because if you step out of a spaceship at 50-miles you’re going to die just as quickly if you step out at 62-miles.
“But it is a bit of an interesting battle between the two people.”
Read the full article here: ‘Bezos is having dig at Branson’ Expert on space war between billionaires
10.55am BST: Spaceflight still out of reach for the masses – expert
Despite Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic promising to open up space tourism to the masses, experts fear the costs of spacelight will prevent most from leaving Earth.
Dr Ian Whittaker, a Senior Lecturer in Physics at Nottingham Trent University, told Express.co.uk it is unlikely these private ventures will help the general public get into space.
He said: “Until some new form of low cost, environmentally friendly thrust mechanism is developed it just is not going to happen large scale.”
Earlier this month, Richard Branson told the world “space belongs to us all”.
Read the full article here: Richard Branson promised a revolution – but ‘ridiculous’ prices will keep you from space
Blue Origin launch live: The crew will return to Earth in a capsule
Blue Origin launch live: The New Shepard rocket will return without a crew
10.32am BST: Jeff Bezos and crew ‘are go for launch’
The tech mogul and his crew have completed their pre-flight training and are ready to blast off this afternoon.
Blue Origin tweeted late on Monday (UK time): “Our astronauts have completed training and are go for launch. #NSFirstHumanFlight”
The crew will blast off aboard the New Shepard rocket from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One near Van Horn in West Texas.
After their brief excursion into space ends, their capsule will fall back to Earth and land in the Texan wilderness.
The crew of today’s launch consists of:
- Jeff Bezos, 57 – Amazon and Blue Origin founder
- Mark Bezos, 53 – Co-founder of HighPost Capital
- Oliver Daemen, 18 – Son of Somerset Capital Partners CEO, Joes Daemen
- Wally Funk, 82 – Aviation instruction, FAA investigator and Mercury 13 astronaut candidate
Mr Bezos shared a touching video clip of his crewmembers on Instagram on the weekend, with the caption: “Love this crew.”