2 min read.Updated: 20 Jul 2021, 07:39 AM IST Edited By Sangeeta Ojha
Jeff Bezos and three crewmates are due to fly from a desert site in West Texas on an 11-minute trip to the edge of space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard
Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest man on the planet, will ride his own rocket to outer space today. The flight comes nine days after British billionaire Richard Branson was aboard his company Virgin Galactic's rocket plane for its pioneering suborbital flight from New Mexico.
Jeff Bezos has said he is not very nervous as he is set to blast off to space. "People keep asking if I'm nervous. I'm not really nervous, I'm excited. I'm curious. I want to know what we're going to learn," Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc, told the "CBS This Morning" program.
"We've been training. This vehicle is ready. This crew is ready. This team is amazing," Bezos said. "We just feel really good about it."
Bezos and three crewmates are due to fly from a desert site in West Texas on an 11-minute trip to the edge of space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard.
New Shepard has flown 15 uncrewed flights to put it through its paces and test safety mechanisms, like firing the capsule away from the launchpad if the rocket explodes, or landing it with one less parachute.
Bezos, 57, founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the goal of one-day building floating space colonies with artificial gravity where millions of people will work and live.
How Jeff Bezos will soar into space
Lift-off is at 8:00 am Central Time (1300 GMT) from a remote facility in the west Texas desert called Launch Site One, some 25 miles (40 kilometres) north of the nearest town, Van Horn. Weather conditions currently appear favourable and the event will be live-streamed on BlueOrigin.com, starting 90 minutes before launch, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said at a briefing on Sunday.
After lift-off, New Shepard will careen towards space at speeds exceeding 2,300 mph (3700 kph) using a liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen engine whose only byproduct is water vapour. The capsule separates from its booster, and when it gets high enough, the astronauts unbuckle and experience weightlessness for three to four minutes.
The spacecraft peaks at 65 miles altitude (106 kilometres), allowing the crew members to admire the curvature of the planet, and the inky black of the rest of the universe.
Richard Branson’s advice to Jeff Bezos
The capsule is entirely automated, unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane that required two pilots to get him to space and back a week ago.
Branson’s advice? “Just sit back, relax, look out of the window, just absorb the view outside," he said on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," AP reported.
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