It's launch day for Jeff Bezos: In a rocket and capsule developed by the Amazon founder's private space company, Blue Origin, the billionaire will participate in the company's first crewed launch of the New Shepard on Tuesday. Some inevitable questions in the lead-up to the flight, and their answers:
- When? At 9am Eastern time, weather permitting.
- For how long? The entire journey, which will attempt to reach the edge of space for a few minutes of weightlessness, is expected to take 10 to 11 minutes, NBC News reports.
- How to watch? Blue Origin is livestreaming the event here, starting at 7:30am Eastern time, CNN reports.
- Who's going? Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old Wally Funk (a former test pilot who broke many barriers as a woman in the aviation and space industries), and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who paid for his spot.
- From where? A remote site in the West Texas desert, southeast of El Paso.
- What's next? Blue Origin aims to offer (expensive) personal trips to space soon, as does Virgin Galactic, which recently launched founder Richard Branson to the edge of space.
- How? The New Shepard rocket and capsule fly autonomously, unlike Branson's Unity space plane. That rocket-powered vehicle reached an altitude of 53 miles; the New Shepard is designed to reach higher than 62 miles.
- Rivalry: Blue Origin has actually suggested the Unity space plane doesn't reach suborbital space, since the Kármán line, which is what many describe as the edge of space, is at 62 miles. But the US Air Force puts the space boundary at 50 miles up.
- What else is next? Elon Musk's SpaceX is also planning to send a civilian crew to space this year, and orbital tourism flights later.
- How is Bezos feeling? He told CBS Monday, "I'm excited. 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."
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