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Jeff Bezos Ready to Ride his Rocket Out

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, will launch his rocket into space on Tuesday, a watershed event for a young industry attempting to make the final frontier accessible to wealthy visitors. Blue Origin plans to launch its first crewed mission on the 52nd anniversary of the first Moon landing, an 11-minute journey from west Texas to beyond the Karman line and back.

The founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, completed the journey on July 11, barely defeating Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in a battle of billionaires. But, like Branson, Bezos claims it wasn’t a competition. He said on the TODAY Show, “There’s one person who was the first person in space — his name was Yuri Gagarin — and that happened a long time ago. This isn’t a competition, this is about building a road to space so that future generations can do incredible things in space.”

In comparison to Virgin’s spaceplane, Blue Origin’s goals are set higher, both in terms of the height to which its reusable New Shepard vehicle will ascend and in terms of its ambitions. Bezos, who is 57 years old, launched Blue Origin in 2000 with the idea of one day creating floating space colonies with artificial gravity where millions of people will work and live.

Today, the business is working on a New Glenn heavy-lift orbital rocket and a Moon lander that it hopes to sell to NASA. New Shepard has completed 15 uncrewed flights to put it through its paces and test safety features such as launching the capsule away from the launchpad if the rocket bursts or landing it with one fewer parachute.

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