Blue Origin Launches Jeff Bezos And Crew Set For Space Flight
With less than 30 minutes to launch, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos posted a video to his Instagram in tribute to his brother, Mark, who is one of two other passengers joining Bezos on the company’s first passenger spaceflight.
In the video, Bezos shares some words of encouragement as the brothers clink their glasses of frozen Tang together in a toast. He says:
The Russian cosmonauts have a special toast for occasions like this before a flight. To a soft landing.
Spaceflight is inherently risky given the explosive nature of the rocket’s fuel, the high speed needed to reach space, the hostile environment of space itself, and the force with which gravity returns the capsule to Earth.
The New Shepard capsule’s seats have a single-release five-point harness. For additional safety in the event of an emergency, it also has an escape motor that can fire at any point just before or during the launch, to quickly jettison the crew away from the rocket.
Blue Origin has launched and landed New Shepard safely on fifteen prior test flights before putting people on board.
Bezos’ company is just one of many of a 21st-century generation of ventures in a new space race, one driven primarily by investors, rather than solely by superpower governments.
He is also one of several billionaires pouring funds into companies, with Bezos going head-to-head with Elon Musk and Richard Branson in the growing space industry.
Like them, Bezos’ vision for his company stretches beyond launching wealthy passengers on spaceflight joyrides. Blue Origin’s mission is to create “a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth,” and Bezos sees Tuesday’s flight as the next step toward achieving that goal.
Bezos has spent the majority of his time in the past two decades focused on Amazon, but along the way has steadily sold shares of the tech giant to fund Blue Origin’s development, to the tune of $1 billion a year or possibly more.
Earlier this month, Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO, with many in the space industry expecting him to spend more time focusing on Blue Origin’s development.
Beyond its New Shepard rocket, the company is developing the orbital New Glenn rocket, a stable of rocket engines, and a crewed lunar lander.