Bezos' Blue Origin gets OK to send him, 3 others to space

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NBC News 13 July, 2021 - 12:29pm 8 views

Is Jeff Bezos going to space?

A typical New Shepard flight lasts 11 minutes, and a live broadcast with the astronauts will be available at BlueOrigin.com after the landing, Blue Origin said in a press release Monday (July 12). ... Space.comBlue Origin will launch billionaire Jeff Bezos into space on July 20. Here's how to watch.

Where is Jeff Bezos launching from?

Jeff Bezos to launch himself into space on Blue Origin rocket in July. CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jeff Bezos' rocket company has gotten government approval to launch people into space, himself included. NBC NewsBezos' Blue Origin gets OK to send him, 3 others to space

The Amazon founder will climb atop his New Shepard rocket next Tuesday in West Texas, joined by his brother, an 82-year-old female aviation pioneer and a $28 million auction winner. It will be the first launch with passengers for Blue Origin, which like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans to start flying paying customers in the months ahead.

On Sunday, Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder Richard Branson rode his own rocket plane to space, accompanied by five company employees. A specially designed aircraft carried the winged ship aloft over New Mexico. The space plane dropped away, fired its rocket motor and soared to 53.5 miles (86 kilometers), before gliding to a runway touchdown.

Blue Origin’s flight — featuring an automated capsule launched atop a reusable booster — should reach a maximum altitude of roughly 66 miles (106 kilometers) before parachuting into the desert.

Joining Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic in the chase for space tourists is Elon Musk’s SpaceX. But SpaceX plans to send its customers into orbit, not on brief up-and-down hops. Musk has yet to commit to a launch himself.

Bezos, 57, stepped down last week as Amazon’s CEO. He founded Blue Origin in 2000.

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Jeff Bezos gets the OK for trip to space: Here's how to watch it

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One small step for a billionaire, one giant leap for outrageously wealthy space tourists: Jeff Bezos has got the OK for his onanistic flight to space.

Bezo’s rocket company, Blue Origin, has got the rubber stamp from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take humans to space — and the Amazon founder has bagged a seat on the first trip.

The magnate’s mission is, of course, all about helping humanity to survive. After doing so much to destroy life on Earth, it’s only right that he now reaches for the stars.

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With outstanding generosity, Bezos is even letting us mere Earth-dwellers watch his trip from home, while we wait for permission to travel freely across Earth. You can follow the live coverage at BlueOrigin.com from 6:30AM CDT / 11:30 UTC on July 20. Liftoff is currently targeted for 8:00AM CDT / 13:00 UTC.

— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 12, 2021

If all goes to plan, Bezos will claim the not-so-illustrious title of “second billionaire in space.” Space rival Richard Branson pipped the Amazon kingpin to the finishing line of the ego race on Sunday — although the brash Brit’s gold medal remains disputed.

Blue Origin suggested Branson will forever have an asterisk next to his name, as his flight didn’t surpass the “internationally recognized” Kármán line that defines the start of space at 100km above sea level. Branson did, however, pass NASA’s benchmark for conferring astronaut wings.

Either way, both the tycoons are only going sub-orbital. The crown of the first billionaire to reach orbit remains unclaimed — for now. Your move, Elon Musk.

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WNYC Studios 14 July, 2021 - 08:00pm

Blue Origin shares multimillion-dollar spaceship ticket proceeds with 19 charities

GeekWire 14 July, 2021 - 08:00pm

There are only so many postcards you can send to space and back, even if you have $28 million to work with.

That’s one reason why the Club for the Future, the educational nonprofit foundation created by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture, is giving 19 space-related charities the lion’s share of the proceeds from the $28 million fare that a mystery auction winner is paying to go on a suborbital space trip.

The winner, who’s due to be revealed any day now, will ride along with Bezos himself, his brother Mark and “Mercury 13” aviation pioneer Wally Funk when Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket ship lifts off from a West Texas spaceport on July 20. Taking place on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, this flight will mark the first crewed mission for a suborbital launch vehicle that’s been tested 15 times in uncrewed mode.

When Blue Origin launched the auction in May, the company promised that the proceeds would go to the Club for the Future, whose signature educational program involves taking in postcards from kids, flying them on New Shepard, and then returning them to the senders as mementos. The foundation also creates space-related classroom activities and does outreach at public events.

Five weeks later, the winning bid of $28 million raised eyebrows — even at Blue Origin. “With $28 million, we’re going to inspire a lot of kids,” Ariane Cornell, the company’s director of astronaut strategy and sales, said at the time.

Now the Club for the Future is going to have some help spending the money, and spreading the inspiration.

“This donation is enabling Club for the Future to rapidly expand its reach by partnering with 19 organizations to develop and inspire the next generation of space professionals,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said today in a news release. “Our generation will build the road to space, and these efforts will ensure the next generation is ready to go even further.”

The Club for the Future is offering a $1 million grant to each of these 19 groups:

Meanwhile, the Club for the Future will continue its work on classroom curriculum — and, of course, on the “Postcards to Space” program. More than 25,000 postcards flew on the most recent uncrewed New Shepard test flight in April. It’s a safe bet that Blue Origin will find room for a few more on next week’s milestone flight.

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Jeff Bezos Cleared To Fly Aboard Blue Origin’s First-Ever Commercial Spaceflight

HYPEBEAST 13 July, 2021 - 02:59pm

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The voyage is set to take Bezos, his brother Mark, 82-year-old space pioneer Wally Funk and three other passengers just past the edge of space, also known as the Kármán line, Engadget reports.

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FAA approves Blue Origin launch with Bezos, others aboard

The Hill 13 July, 2021 - 02:38pm

The license, which was approved by the FAA on Monday and is valid through August, comes as Bezos, along with his brother and two others, are scheduled to launch into space next Tuesday on the New Shepard rocket. 

The flight is part of an effort by billionaire-owned technology and transportation companies to make space flight a commercially available experience. 

Branson said in remarks upon landing, "I think like most kids I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid, but honestly nothing could prepare you for the view of Earth from space.” 

"I'm just taking it all in. It's just unreal,” he added. 

When the New Shepard flies off from West Texas next week, Bezos and his brother will be joined by Wally Funk, an 82-year-old woman who completed astronaut training in 1961 as a member of the "Mercury 13" Woman in Space Program. 

However, the program was ultimately cut before Funk was able to participate in a mission.

An unnamed person who made the winning $28 million bid at a charity auction last month will also be aboard the spacecraft. 

According to The Associated Press, the Blue Origin spacecraft should reach a maximum altitude of about 66 miles before landing back down in the desert. 

Branson’s flight on Sunday reached a height of 53.5 miles, above the 50-mile threshold recognized by the FAA as the edge of space. 

The Virgin Galactic flight on Sunday marked the fourth crewed mission for the company, though Blue Origin’s flight next week will be its first with passengers on board. 

Musk has not yet indicated if he intends to follow Branson and Bezos by participating in a space launch himself. 

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Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos get FAA approval for July 20 trip to space

CNET 13 July, 2021 - 11:27am

Jeff Bezos has the official green light to go to space on his Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, along with whoever he can fit into the spacecraft's crew capsule.

Late Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration gave the needed bureaucratic OK for the Amazon founder's rocket company to fly its first crewed mission ever.

"On July 12, the FAA approved the Blue Origin license modification to carry humans on the New Shepard launch system," the agency said in a statement.

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Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic both had licenses to launch their respective spacecraft, but had to meet certain safety requirements in order to modify the license to be allowed to fly "space flight participants," otherwise known as passengers in non-FAA legalese terms. 

Virgin Galactic was the first to receive such a commercial space license to launch private individuals into space. Now Blue Origin is the second to hold the same type of license from the FAA. Virgin Galactic moved up its first fully crewed flight after receiving its license, successfully sending founder Richard Branson and three employees to the edge of space on Sunday, nine days before Bezos' planned attempt.

The license modification was one of the final remaining hurdles standing between Jeff Bezos and destiny. On Monday, before the FAA announcement, the company shared the news that it was officially "go for launch" on July 20.

The FAA also notes that Blue Origin's license is valid through this August.

New Shepard is set to launch from the Blue Origin testing facility in west Texas on the morning of July 20. Bezos will be joined in the crew capsule by his brother Mark; pilot, aerospace legend and member of the fabled Mercury 13 Wally Funk; and a yet-to-be-revealed auction winner who is paying $28 million for the privilege.

We will have live coverage of the whole mission, which is expected to last less than 15 minutes. You can find all the details of the mission right here.

Follow CNET's 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.  

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