Blue Origin is making final preparations to send its owner, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and three others on a rocket ride to the edge of space on Tuesday, July 20.
Other crew members include Bezos’ brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who will be the oldest person in space at 82, and Oliver Daemen, who will be the youngest person in space at 18, and, as announced on Thursday, and Blue Origin’s first paying customer.
According to Blue Origin, the Dutchman, who graduated from high school in 2020 and recently got his private pilot’s license, has been fascinated by “space, moon and rockets” since he was four and will go to university after his flight to study physics and innovation management.
Welcome to the crew, Oliver! We are grateful to have you as our first customer marking the start of commercial operations. #NSFirstHumanFlight https://t.co/gwZ6qBOFpi pic.twitter.com/SuOwxe2353
– Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 15, 2021
Daemen captured a seat on the rocket flight after the person who placed the winning $ 28 million bid for the seat in a recent auction decided to take a later flight due to a scheduling conflict.
Some media reports have suggested that Oliver’s father, Joes Daemen, had a seat on the next Blue Origin flight but gave it to his son after the seat became available when the next week took off.
Tuesday’s flight will be the first manned launch of Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard rocket and the 16th total launch. The mission is set to serve as a test run for the company’s upcoming space tourism service for suborbital travel to the edge of space. And with Bezos on board, along with the youngest and oldest people ever to venture into space, it should help do some publicity for the service as well.
Journey of a lifetime
The 10-minute journey of a lifetime begins at Blue Origin’s base in West Texas, with the four crew members flying skyward in a capsule on the single-stage New Shepard rocket. A short time later, the capsule will separate from the rocket and fly to the Kármán Line, a point 100 kilometers above the earth that is widely regarded as the beginning of space. The crew can then leave their seats and enjoy a few minutes of weightlessness while marveling at the spectacular view of the earth. They then return to their seats for a parachute landing near the launch site.
Digital Trends has everything you need to know to watch the live stream of the event.
Rival space tourism service
Blue Origin’s mission will take place a little over a week after Richard Branson – another billionaire with his own space company – flew aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft in its first fully manned suborbital flight to just short of the Kármán Line .
Branson announced the date of his flight after Blue Origin revealed the schedule for his own mission, leading many to claim the British businessman was just rushing ahead to get the show-off rights over Bezos.
The two companies will compete for customers for their respective space tourism services. Virgin Galactic is already taking bookings for a commercial service that could begin as soon as next year, with customers charging $ 250,000 for a seat. Blue Origin hasn’t announced any seat prices yet, although the company’s fee is believed to be similar to that of its rival.