On the occasion of the 52th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the American Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, became the second billionaire this Tuesday (20) to fly into space with his own spaceship, which also took the first passenger to fly Pay for suborbital travel. It was the sixteenth successful flight of the New Shepard capsule into space, but the first to carry a crew, which marked the beginning of the company’s commercial operations – before the British Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which doesn’t need anyone to own it yet bought a ticket. (Bezos was the first to book the trip, by the way, but Branson decided to sprinkle water on his beer and on Nov.
The rocket launched shortly afterwards at 10:12 a.m. (GMT) in Texas and performed its suborbital flight exactly as planned: launch, motorized climb, capsule release, apogee of 107 km and return to Earth, assisted by parachute. During the parabolic ride, the occupants experienced about three minutes of weightlessness (feeling of weightlessness) and were able to observe the landscape of our planet from space through the largest windows ever shot into space. It was all over in a little over 10 minutes. But there is no doubt that it was both a short and a historic trip. On board were the oldest who went into space, the youngest, the richest and his brother.
Wally Funk, 82, is an American aviator who was selected by NASA as part of the first group of astronauts but suffered from the decision by the American space agency not to launch women in the 1960s in order to finally conduct a space flight. Bezos’ invitation shows his awe of the history of the space program. If Funk had flown in a Mercury capsule in the 1960s, he could have made a flight similar to today, as Alan Shepard did on May 5, 1961. Then, like that Tuesday, it was a short suborbital flight of about 15 minutes . (The capsule is not called New Shepard by chance.) When he reached space, Funk beat the record of John Glenn, who was there on an old space shuttle mission at the age of 77.
Dutchman Oliver Daemen, 18, has just graduated from high school and is still ahead of college, but is already the youngest person to fly into space. And this one paid. Blue Origin did not disclose how much the ticket cost, but it was selected from a first seat auction. Daemen wasn’t the bidder; the mysterious contest winner paid $ 28 million, but believe it or not, he claimed a scheduling conflict and will be flying on a future mission.
The crew was completed by brothers Jeff and Mark Bezos. Known as the owner of Amazon, Jeff has dreamed of space since childhood and founded Blue Origin in 2000 to enable human expansion into space, starting with suborbital space tourism. The New Shepard vehicle is a reusable single-stage rocket powered by liquid hydrogen and oxygen, with a crew pod on top. After the powered ascent, the capsule is ejected and continues its journey into space, and the rocket descends and lands vertically with reverse propulsion. Its first flight was in 2015 and the rocket landed before SpaceX’s Falcon 9, the first successful landing.
The New Shepard is designed for suborbital flights and competes directly with Virgin Galactic for this market. But the project aims to be a pioneer for more powerful vehicles. The next generation already has a name: New Glenn. (John Glenn was the third American to go into space, but the first to go into orbit.)
Blue Origin is expected to operate exclusively commercial flights this year, however ticket sales will initially be negotiated directly with the most competitive participants in the auction for first seat. Virgin Galactic has more than 600 reservations (originally marketed for $ 250,000 per seat) but plans to run two more test flights this year before starting flying its customers next year.
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