Blue Origin all set to soar into space on Tuesday, Bezos asks crew to 'relax'
Blue Origin, the company founded by American businessman Jeff Bezos, is all set for a space mission on Tuesday. The passengers include Bezos, his brother, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer and a teenage tourist.
The capsule is entirely automated, unlike Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic rocket plane that required two pilots to get him to space earlier this month.
Ahead of the ambitious mission, Bezos appeared on CBS’ 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' where he told the fellow travellers to "sit back, relax, look out of the window, just absorb the view outside".
The Blue Origin mission is yet another step by a billionaire to open the space frontier for tourists. Though the commercial operations are scheduled to begin from next year, Bezos and Branson want to be the leaders in the field.
Blue Origin’s 60-foot (18-metre) New Shepard rocket will accelerate toward space at three times the speed of sound, or Mach 3, before separating from the capsule and returning for an upright landing. It will cross the Karman Line, 100 kilometres above, from where the limit of the space starts. The line has been set by an international aeronautics body as defining the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space.
The passengers will experience three to four minutes of weightlessness, before their capsule parachutes onto the desert just 10 minutes after lift-off.
Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut sales at Blue Origin, said that the crew members will "experience the flight of a lifetime".
Blue Origin's training programme, according to the company, includes safety briefings, a simulation of the spaceflight, a review of the rocket and its operations, and instruction on how to float around the craft's cabin after the capsule sheds Earth's gravity.
Another billionaire businessman Elon Musk is also eyeing the space tourism sector, pledging to go even higher in September, sending an all-civilian crew for a several-day orbital flight aboard its Crew Dragon capsule.
US space agency NASA and the American Air Force define an astronaut as anyone who has flown higher than 50 miles (80 km).