Jeff Bezos, the richest person on Earth, will go into space next month. The Amazon founder also has his own commercial space company, Blue Origin, which aims to take tourists to space for the first time on July 20. And Bezos announced on Monday that he and his brother Mark would come on board.
The spacecraft that will take the tourists to space is called New Shepard. The launcher will take off vertically and deploy the associated capsule at the height of 75 km. It then climbs to an altitude of more than 100 kilometres.
There the passengers are weightless for a few minutes, and they see the curvature of the Earth. Then the craft sinks back into the atmosphere to land again on Earth. The capsule is not going high and not fast enough to orbit the Earth.
Blue Origin had announced plans for the first flight in May. At the time, however, it was not yet known that Jeff Bezos himself would also go along. He announced the news on Instagram today. ‘I’ve dreamed of travelling to space since I was five years old,’ Bezos wrote in a video featuring him and his brother. “On July 20, I will make that trip with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
One of the places on board is also being auctioned. So far, nearly 6,000 people from 143 countries have bid. According to Blue Origin, the highest bid is now about 2.8 million dollars. The auction will run until June 12.
Businessman Elon Musk’s SpaceX competitor is already bringing professional astronauts to the ISS space station. Later this year, he wants to give a few civilians a chance to go to space. In 2023, Musk also wants a wealthy Japanese businessman to fly around the moon.
In addition, in a few more years, SpaceX will have to put astronauts on the moon and return them safely to Earth. Musk received that multi-billion-dollar order from the NASA space agency. Blue Origin, which missed the order, is currently challenging the decision.
Another company, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, is also working on commercial tourist flights to space.