The capsule can be operated entirely by itself, unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane which required two pilots to take him to and from space a week earlier.
Branson's advice: Branson's advice?
The billionaire rivals will launch anyone who is willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a quick up-and-down trip to space.
Here's a quick look at the future for Bezos, his passengers and crew:
BEZOS ON BOARD
Blue Origin was founded by Bezos in 2000. He said that Blue Origin inspired his high school girlfriend to say, "Jeff started Amazon just so we could get enough money for Blue Origin -- and she can't prove me wrong." He also stated that he finances Blue Origin by selling $1 billion of Amazon stock per year. Bezos was five years old when he saw Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong's July 20, 1969 moon landing. For his launch, he chose the 52nd anniversary. Bezos was fascinated by space history and named his New Shepard rocket after Alan Shepard who was the first American to go into space. His larger, yet-in-development New Glenn rocket was named after John Glenn, who was the first American to orbit. Bezos, 57 years old and also the owner of The Washington Post, resigned as Amazon CEO earlier in this month and donated $200 million to The Smithsonian Institution last week to renovate its National Air and Space Museum and to launch an education center. It changes your perspective to see the Earth from space. He said that it changes your relationship to the planet and with humanity. It's something I have wanted to do my whole life.
Bezos invited his brother Mark, a volunteer firefighter and investor, as well as Wally Funk, a female aviation pioneer, to join him. Oliver Daemen will join them as a substitute for the $28 million charity auction winner who was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts. Funk, who is now 82 years old, will be the oldest person to have ever been in space. Funk was one of 13 women pilots (the so-called Mercury 13) who took the same tests as NASA's Mercury 7 astronauts in the 1960s but were denied entry due to their gender. Funk exclaimed, "Finally!" when he was offered a seat with Bezos. The Dutch Daemen, aged 18 at the time, will be the youngest person to orbit. Funk's financier father had bid for the capsule seat in June but he pulled out as the price rose. Blue Origin called just over a week after an unidentified auction winner changed to a later flight. Blue Origin's first paying customer is a teenage space enthusiast who will be starting college in the fall. No word on his ticket price.
ROCKET AND CAPULE
Although Bezos will not be the first boss to launch his own rocket into space, he can claim to have strapped in for his company’s first human launch. His altitude is expected to be 66 miles (106 km) higher than Branson's 53.5 mile (86 km). Blue Origin's 60-foot (18 meter) New Shepard rocket will travel at Mach 3 (3 times the speed sound), before it separates from the capsule and returns to earth for a straight landing. After liftoff, passengers will feel three to four minutes weightlessness before their capsules parachutes into the desert. This takes place just 10 minutes later. This is five minutes less than Alan Shepard’s 1961 Mercury flight. Blue Origin has the largest windows for a spacecraft, however. Bezos bought the barren, deserted land to launch and land rockets. Van Horn is the nearest town, with a population of 1,832.
Blue Origin has successfully completed 15 space flights since 2015. They have also carried out experiments and Mannequin Skywalker as a stand-in for passengers. All the demonstrations, except for the booster landing on the first flight, were successful. One rocket flew seven times, and five more. Also, the capsules were reused. Blue Origin intentionally aborted two flights shortly after liftoff in order to test the emergency escape mechanism on the capsule. It seemed slower than the competition and many wondered why Blue Origin, which has Gradatim Ferociter as its motto, was taking so much time to launch people. The company, based in Kent, Washington, kept a low profile about its launch plans. After the April test flight, which saw mock passengers climb aboard briefly before liftoff, Bezos finally declared "it's Time".
Blue Origin will soon open ticket sales after Bezos takes off. It's not known at this time how much the rides will cost. $28 million was paid for the fourth seat on the upcoming flight. As a result, 19 space advocacy and education organizations will each receive $1 million. The rest will be used by Blue Origin's Club for the Future for their own education efforts. The New Shepard, a small spacecraft that can launch people to the edge, is designed to carry cargo and crew to orbit. However, the New Glenn, a massive spacecraft, will be able to haul cargo and crew to orbit starting in late next year. Blue Origin has its sights set on the moon. Blue Moon, the company's lunar lander proposal, was defeated by SpaceX's Starship during NASA's recent commercial competition for technology to get the next astronauts to the moon. Dynetics and Blue Origin are challenging the award of the contract.