Jeff Bezos To Become a Part of Blue Origin’s First Crewed Flight and Venture Into Space Ahead of Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson
Blue Origin, a company that is slated to become a part of the emerging space economy and backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is about to make history by attempting its first crewed flight in July.
As per an Instagram post by Jeff Bezos, the spaceflight company's first crewed flight will take place on the 20th of July. Crucially, the flight will also carry Mr. Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and founder of Blue Origin. This means that he will become the first billionaire to ever venture into space, far ahead of Richard Branson, who is slated to achieve this feat in one of Virgin Galactic’s (NYSE:SPCE) upcoming test flights. It should be noted that Mr. Bezos will resign from the post of Amazon’s CEO ahead of this historic flight.
As a refresher, Blue Origin was founded by Bezos in the year 2000. Since then, the company has conducted over a dozen non-crewed test flights at its facilities in rural Texas, located about 70 miles from Marfa. As far as the details of the upcoming Blue Origin flight are concerned, a six-seater capsule carrying Bezos and other crew members will be propelled by the 59-foot New Shepard rocket to 60 miles above the surface of the Earth.
Blue Origin has also been testing the New Shepard since 2015, with the company being the first private rocket manufacturer to land a rocket vertically in November 2015 successfully. Blue Origin's first launch for 2021 took place in January when it launched the NS-14 mission to test suborbital human spaceflight capabilities. The flight marked the first test of the fourth-generation New Shepard rocket, which is expected to propel the upcoming suborbital flights in addition to science missions for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
While SpaceX built its Dragon spacecraft for NASA and is currently running missions for the ISS, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have largely aimed their offerings toward public and private microgravity researchers as well as those looking for space-based tourism.