Jeff Bezos is all set to blast off aboard his aerospace company Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle for a suborbital flight today (July 20). The space flight will comprise a history-making all-civilian crew. The launch of the 11-minute journey to space is planned from a desert site in West Texas, US. If all goes as planned, New Shepard will blast off at 6:30am CDT (5pm IST) from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One facility located around 20 miles (32km) outside Van Horn in Texas, US. Bezos’ space trip comes nine days after Richard Branson’s space voyage aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity.
Jeff Bezos’ space flight: How to watch live
Blue Origin announced on its Twitter handle that viewers can tune into the live broadcast from the Blue Origin website or its YouTube channel. The livestreaming will start at 6:30am CDT, or 5pm IST for viewers in India. You can also watch the launch below:
New Shepard is a 60-foot-tall (18.3m) and fully autonomous rocket-and-capsule combo that cannot be piloted from inside the spacecraft. The spaceflight company has tweeted an image of the crew after the completion of their training.
Bezos also did a round of televised interviews ahead of the launch. “People keep asking if I’m nervous. I’m not really nervous, I’m excited. I’m curious. I want to know what we’re going to learn,” Bezos said.
Bezos will be joined by his younger brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen. Jeff Bezos had reffered to Mark Bezos as his “best friend” on his Instagram post announcing the journey to space. Funk was the first female flight instructor at a US military base and the first woman to become an air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. Daemen became the last member to join the crew as the initial auction winner, whose name had not been made public, dropped out due to unspecified “scheduling conflicts.” According to Blue Origin, his addition means that the flight is set to include the oldest and the youngest person ever to go to space.
Jeff Bezos’ flight comes nine days after the British billionaire businessman Richard Branson travelled to space aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity rocket for its pioneering suborbital flight from New Mexico. Bezos is due to fly higher — 62 miles (100km) for Blue Origin compared to 53 miles (86km) for Virgin Galactic.