Jeff Bezos to fly to space on Blue Origin’s space flight

Jeff Bezos to fly to space on Blue Origin's space flight

Jeff Bezos to fly to space on Blue Origin’s space flight

Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, is set to join the astronaut club Tuesday on the first crewed launch by Blue Origin, another key moment in a big month for the fledgling space tourism industry.

The mission comes days after Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson crossed the final frontier, narrowly besting the Amazon magnate in their battle of the billionaires.

Also on Blue Origin’s first launch with passengers: Bezos’ brother and Wally Funk, one of 13 female pilots who went through the same tests in the early 1960s as NASA’s Mercury 7 astronauts but never made it into space because only men were allowed.

The four will blast off from West Texas atop a New Shepard rocket for a 10-minute flight. The Amazon founder will become the second person to ride his own rocket into space, following Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson by nine days.

Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the goal of using some of his Amazon fortune to develop rocket technology for a variety of business purposes, will take his extraterrestrial journey just nine days after fellow billionaire and rocket company founder Richard Branson took his own trip.

But Bezos’ flight, and the technology his company developed to get him there, is far different than Branson’s. Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a small, suborbital rocket that takes off vertically from a launch pad, giving a shorter yet higher-speed experience than the aerial-launched space plane created by Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

But much like Virgin Galactic’s plane, New Shepard is designed to shuttle paying customers more than dozens of miles above the Earth’s surface for a few moments of weightlessness and panoramic views of the Earth.