The world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is set to go into space on an 11-minute 2,300-mph excursion powered by his own rocket.
The business mogul’s announcement comes just nine days after Richard Branson reached the edge of space on a rocket manufactured by Virgin Galactic.
Mr. Bezos launched Blue Origin in 2000 to invest part of his Amazon fortune in developing rocket technologies for various business purposes.
On July 20th, he will attempt to launch aboard a rocket and capsule created by his private space company and fly into space.
It would be the first crewed launch of the company’s New Shepard rocket.
If successful, Mr. Bezos would make history for participating in the first unpiloted suborbital flight with a civilian crew.
Moreover, the space trip can set other milestones, as two people will join Mr. Bezos: a passenger who could become the oldest person to reach space and another who would be the youngest.
The first person is Wally Funk, 82, a former test pilot and one of the Mercury 13 women.
She was trained in the 1960s to show that women could meet NASA’s standards and requirements for their astronaut corps.
The second passenger is 18-year-old Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen, who could become the youngest astronaut to reach space.
The latest passenger to join the four-person team is Mark Bezos, Jeff Bezos’ brother.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post in early June announcing the flight.
“On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend,” he added.
While the billionaire man announced his trip just over a week after Mr. Branson reached the edge of space, their flights and technologies are very different.
The New Shepard is a small suborbital rocket designed to take off from a launchpad vertically.
Therefore, it provides a shorter but higher-speed experience than the space plane created by Mr. Branson’s company.
However, both spacecraft were built to shuttle people who pay to get panoramic views of the planet and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
The New Shepard rocket takes off from a point in the West Texas desert, southeast of El Paso. Weather permitting, missions are expected to start after 8:00 a.m. Tuesday.
The launch will be streaming live, with exterior shots of the rocket and capsule firing.