On July 20, Blue Origin will launch its first manned space flight with its New Shepard rocket and capsule, and the flight will carry its billionaire founder Jeff Bezos.
The mission, which Blue Origin has called the first human flight, will be the 16th flight from New Shepard, but the first with astronauts on board. Bezos and three other civilians will take off from the company’s Launch Site One near Van Horn, Texas at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on a landmark mission for the space tourism company.
Here is everything you need to know about flying.
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When does Blue Origin start? How can I watch?
The start of New Shepard’s first manned flight will air on Tuesday, July 20th 7:30 a.m. EDT (1130 GMT) at BlueOrigin.com and if possible here at Space.com. Taking off is expected at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), but can change depending on the weather or technical conditions.
A typical New Shepard flight takes 11 minutes. After landing, a live broadcast with the astronauts will be available on BlueOrigin.com. The timing of this press conference has not been announced, but Blue Origin will stream it live online and Space.com will broadcast it simultaneously if possible. The company will be sharing mission updates on Twitter through @BlueOrigin throughout the day.
Blue Origin has not announced if it will have a special host for the webcast similar to rival Virgin Galactic, who have recruited comedian and The Late Show host Stephen Colbert to launch billionaire Richard Branson on July 11th.
New Shepard normally flies well above the 100-kilometer KÃ¡rmÃ¡n Line, which international authorities recognize as the limit of space. The missile autonomously returns to its launch site and lands, and the crew capsule descends under a parachute.
Who is launching Blue Origin on New Shepard?
New Shepard’s first manned flight will carry four passengers but no pilot as the space capsule is an automated system. The crew includes:
Jeff Bezos, 57, who founded Blue Origin in 2000 and made billions as the founder of Amazon.com
Mark Bezos, 53, Bezos’ younger brother and a millionaire himself. According to Business Insider, he is a former advertising director and serves on the board of directors of the nonprofit Robin Hood, which combats poverty.
Wally Funk, 82, a pioneering aviator who was among the famous Mercury 13s who were tested as potential astronauts by NASA in the early days of the US space program. Funk becomes the oldest person to fly in space with this launch, beating the late Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who was 77 in 1998 when he flew on his second mission on NASA’s Discovery space shuttle.
Oliver Daemon, 18, a physics student who wants to study at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Deaemon will be the youngest person in space on this mission, beating Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titov, who was 25 years old in 1962 when he flew on the Soviet Vostok 2 million auction for the first paid seat on New Shepard.
Blue Origin announced the addition of Daemon to the New Shepard crew on July 15, just five days before launch. The company’s auction winner “decided to fly on a future New Shepard mission due to scheduling conflicts,” Blue Origin officials said at the time.
According to CNBC, Daemon’s father Joe’s Daemon placed the second highest bid in the Blue Origin auction (an amount that has not been disclosed) and was selected to fly on that flight. Joe’s Daemon, a CEO of a private equity firm, then handed over the seat to his son Oliver, CNBC reported
What is Blue Origin’s mission for flight?
The New Shepard system is named after the Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, who became the first American to go into space in 1962.
The rocket performed 15 unmanned tests prior to flight on July 20, most recently on April 14 when it took off on an astronaut test flight. It is about 18 meters high and is supposed to shoot passengers into suborbital space for a “weightless” phase of about three minutes.
The entire flight usually takes 11 minutes, with the rocket returning to the launch pad autonomously with the help of a ring and wedge fins for aerodynamic stabilization. The crew members return to Earth under a parachute in their crew pod.
New Shepard’s capsule has a maximum capacity of six people and has large windows for astronauts to enjoy views of Earth. Alternatively, flights can include a combination of astronauts and experiments, as Blue Origin hopes that paying companies will eventually use weightlessness for a few minutes to test advances in manufacturing, physics, or biology, among other things.
What will Blue Origin astronauts experience?
As with all space flights, the New Shepard crew is at high risk. Your 11-minute space flight will expose you to multiple gravitational forces or G-loads, especially during takeoff and landing. You will also endure a few minutes of weightlessness or “weightlessness” on your parabolic flight.
Some other references to the space experience come from a terms and conditions document related to Blue Origin’s seat auction earlier this year. Under the requirements, the crew members had to be able to “dress in a one-piece flight suit with a zipper” and climb the launch tower – about seven flights of stairs – in less than 90 seconds, the document says.
The crew climbs on a launch tower in the spaceship (without fear of heights) and then sits in a leaning back seat 40 to 90 minutes before take-off. In an emergency, they have to unbuckle their seatbelts in less than 15 seconds.
Blue Origin has also boasted its large windows that tourists can look through during their precious moments in space. “These windows make up a third of the capsule and immerse you in the vastness of space and the life-changing views of our blue planet,” the company said in 2018.
Will Blue Origin really make it into space on the flight?
This is a resounding yes.
Recently, Blue Origin and its competitor Virgin Galactic have been fighting for customers, particularly in the lead up to the launch of Virgin Galactic’s own billionaire founder Richard Branson on July 11th. Branson denied the companies were competing, but Bezos remained calm; Then, days before Branson launched, Blue Origin posted an infographic highlighting the benefits of buying a seat on New Shepard in lieu of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceplane.
The corporations’ biggest controversy is whether Virgin Galactic crew members even made it to space. VSS Unity is designed to fly over the 50-mile limit of space recognized by NASA, the U.S. military, and the Federal Aviation Administration. In contrast, New Shepard usually hovers over the internationally recognized KÃ¡rmÃ¡n Line, which is generally interpreted at 100 km altitude.
Blue Origin has regularly raised the dispute over the KÃ¡rmÃ¡n line over the years. “Our mission has always been to fly over the KÃ¡rmÃ¡n Line because we didn’t want your name to have asterisks next to your name, whether you are an astronaut or not,” said Bezos in 2019. “That’s something she does [Virgin Galactic] must address in my opinion. “
Where does Blue Origin New Shepard start from?
Blue Origin will take off from Launch Site One, a remote area in the West Texas desert about 25 miles from the town of Van Horn. The area is mostly filled with desert scrub, which allows for incredible views from the top of the New Shepard launch area in the hours leading up to the launch.
The area is generally closed to visits (and so will be along nearby State Highway 54 during the start of Bezos, according to Blue Origin). Blue Origin has already been released.
The video shows that the launch pad is adorned with the feather logo of the Blue Origin feather. All paying customers have the opportunity to view their spaceship in the nearby building where it is being prepared for space, the tour video says. According to comments in the video, it is likely that the crew members received at least a little training before the flight at the facility as well.
When could I go into space with Blue Origin?
Blue Origin has not yet fully disclosed the order of its future flights and when it will begin to carry passengers on a regular basis. For example, it was not publicly announced that Daemen was scheduled for New Shepard’s second flight until he moved up a seat in the launch sequence. It is therefore possible that other bidders have seats on future flights for a short time.
Blue Origin has a place on its website where you can reserve your interest for future flights.
“You will have early access to price information and tickets when we open reservations,” the company promised.
To date, Blue Origin has not published any seat prices for normal paying customers. By comparison, Virgin Galactic’s seats are priced at $ 250,000 each.
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