Jeff Bezos announced this week that he would be joining the flight crew on their first mission using the New Shepard rocket ship from Bezos’s space company, Blue Origin, on a trip to space. The flight is currently scheduled for July 20th; 15 days after Bezos will resign as CEO of Amazon.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
Mark Bezos, Jeff’s brother, will be joining the flight, and if all goes to plan, Bezos will become the first billionaire tech space tycoons to experience a ride for themselves into space. Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX, hasn’t even mentioned the possibility of him joining one of his crews into space.
British billionaire Richard Branson owns Virgin Galactic, another space company which is planning on conducting flights to suborbital space for wealthy billionaires who want to take a trip out into the atmosphere.
The six-seater 59-foot-long rocket is set to launch 60 miles above the Earth in an 11-minute flight this July. The New Shepard rocket has been undergoing extensive and secretive testing for the past six years, and although Blue Origin hasn’t announced yet when it will begin selling tickets for future space trips, it’s already rumored that tickets will cost close to $3 million.
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, just one year after Amazon as a platform was initially valued at one billion dollars. While Bezos is resigning from his executive chair role,. He will still be involved in the company’s inner workings.
Blue Origin is also currently working on a rocket called New Glenn, which the company is hoping will be able to send US government and commercial satellites into orbit and make easy trips to deep space.
Bezos has called Blue Origin “the most important work [he’s]doing.”
“I’m interested in space because I’m passionate about it. I’ve been studying it and thinking about it since I was a five year old boy — but that is not why I’m pursuing this work. I’m pursuing this work because I believe if we don’t, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing,” he explained.
Blue Origin initially was hoping to be involved in NASA’s personal mission of returning humans to the moon by 2024, however, SpaceX beat them to it when they landed a contract to build a lunar lander recently. NASA has claimed Blue Origin is still eligible to work on future lunar missions, but their focus on bringing regular people to space has diminished their chance of working with the space organization directly on lunar missions.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.