From Star Trek to Apollo 11, Jeff Bezos brought his sci-fi obsessions to space

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New York Post 20 July, 2021 - 01:21pm 18 views

How high is Bezos going into space?

New Shepard with Jeff Bezos on board has launched If all goes well, the booster will fly back to a soft landing, and the capsule will touch down a few minutes later under three parachutes. The entire flight is expected to last about 10 minutes. The Washington PostJeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen reach space, return safely on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket

What time is the Blue Origin launch on Tuesday?

The 10-minute Blue Origin flight took off from a Texas launch facility at about 9:13 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. Jeff Bezos rocketed into history on Tuesday when his company successfully carried the first paying customer to space and back. barrons.comBlue Origin Becomes the First Company to Take a Paying Passenger to Space. What It Means for Investors.

Where in West Texas is Bezos launching from?

Bezos, 57, was one of four people on Blue Origin's first crewed flight. The New Shepard rocket system lifted off from Launch Site One, a private facility north of Van Horn, at 8:12 a.m. Houston ChronicleJeff Bezos, Blue Origin launch rocket into space from West Texas

How much did the Blue Origin launch cost?

The price was originally $200,000 and later raised to $250,000, but Virgin Galactic stopped sales in 2014 after a crash of its first space plane during a test flight. Virgin Galactic officials say they will resume sales later this year, and the price will likely be higher than $250,000. The New York TimesHow Much Does It Cost to Fly on Blue Origin's New Shepard?

By Tamar Lapin

July 20, 2021 | 2:21pm | Updated July 20, 2021 | 2:42pm

Jeff Bezos has always had his head in the clouds.

The world’s richest man — and “Star Trek” superfan — got to fulfill his dream of becoming a “space cowboy” Tuesday with his record-setting suborbital jaunt.

The brief trip to space featured nods to his lifelong obsession with science-fiction and the cosmos — with Bezos even bringing along precious aviation artifacts with him on the excursion.

From the launch of his company Blue Origin to the namesake of his New Shepard rocket, here are more details of Bezos’ forever fascination with space:

Bezos couldn’t resist heading to space without bringing items tied to flight history.

Onboard the New Shepard were a pair of goggles worn by aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart when she flew across the Atlantic Ocean solo in 1927. She disappeared in 1937.

“Thank you Amelia wherever you are, we hope you are watching this,” Bezos said while putting on the goggles during a news conference after his excursion.

The crew also took with them a piece of canvas from the Wright Flyer, the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers in the early 1900s.

They also packed a bronze medallion made from the first hot air balloon flight in 1783.

“And we brought those precious items back,” Bezos quipped.

Bezos has loved “Star Trek” since childhood, and has said that Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa was inspired by the all-knowing computer on the Starship Enterprise.

He even lobbied Paramount to let him have a role in a “Star Trek” movie — and he did have a cameo in 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond,” playing an alien in a brief scene.

“It was super-fun for me,” he said at the time. “It was a bucket list item.”

Before takeoff on Tuesday, Blue Origin member Sarah Knight read a note from the billionaire’s sister Christina Bezos mentioning their and brother Mark Bezos’ love of the sci-fi series.

“As you buckle in, I’m reminded of when Jeff was Captain Kirk, Mark you were Zulu, and I took the role of Lieutenant Uhura,” said the message. “We would battle Klingons while firing torpedoes, all the while dodging in and out of traffic and praying that we may get to our destination safely.”

“Mark, be prepared to fire those torpedoes in order to do so. Now hurry up and get your asses back down here so I can give you a huge hug. We love you, and Godspeed New Shepard.”

A true “space cowboy,” Bezos rocked a cowboy hat from Van Horn, Texas before and after his mission to space in New Shepard — a rocket-and-capsule combo named for Alan Shepard.

In 1961, Shepard became the first American in space during a suborbital flight as part of NASA’s pioneering Mercury program.

At the post-flight press conference, Bezos geeked out, noting he took pictures with Shepard’s daughters Tuesday.

“I got some pictures with them backstage, and those are getting blown up — big,” he said.

Meanwhile, the shape of New Shepard garnered comparisons online to Dr. Evil’s phallic-shaped craft in the 1999 flick “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”

“So, I watched the Blue Origin launch and I swear all I saw was Dr Evil’s rocket,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“Congrats to Jeff Bezos on getting so close to a perfect Austin Powers reference,” another user added.

Bezos’ cowboy hat also lit up social media.

“Who let Jeff Bezos take his cowboy hat into space?” wrote one Twitter user.

Bezos, 57, founded Blue Origin in 2000, but the aerospace company was a long time coming.

The year prior, the Amazon founder remarked to science fiction author Neal Stephenson, that “I’ve always wanted to start a rocket company, that’s always been my dream,’” according to Christian Davenport, who profiled Bezos in his book “The Space Barons.”

The move, Bezos said, prompted his high school girlfriend to note, “Jeff started Amazon just to get enough money to do Blue Origin.”

He added, “And I can’t prove her wrong.”

The company’s name refers to Earth’s nickname — “the blue planet” — as being the point of origin for humankind.

“It’s called Blue Origin because this is the blue planet and this is the planet that we have to save,” Bezos explained in 2019. “This is the good planet in our solar system. We’ve sent robotic probes to all the planets now, this is the only good one.”

Bezos has said he first became enamored with space while watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing on July 20, 1969. 

He chose the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing for his own spaceflight.

In 2013, Bezos spent three weeks at sea to recover pieces of the Apollo 11 engine. The artifacts were later installed at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Read full article at New York Post

Jeff Bezos’ phallic rocket deserves all the ridicule it gets | Andrew Naughtie

The Independent 20 July, 2021 - 12:11pm

New Shepard, the semi-reusable craft that blasted Bezos and his co-passengers just beyond the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere, wasn’t just phallic: it was practically a sculpture of an erect penis. The tweets wrote themselves, from the gobsmacked to the smirking to the downright joyous to deft renderings of the rocket as, well, exactly what it looked like.

Also speaking up were the righteously angry, hitting on the fundamental truth of what Bezos has achieved: not just the feat of becoming the world’s richest man, but the perfectly perverse triumph of funding his own spaceflight with cash from his own corporate titan, one that shores itself up with ruthless tax “efficiency” and works its chronically underpaid staff to the point of exhaustion, or worse. This is a triumph of unmistakably masculine in-your-face hubris, and the can’t-unsee-it arrow-nudge in the Amazon logo is the perfect emblem.

With Bezos and his crew’s brief in-and-out concluded, space is blissfully free of our grimy anatomical doings for now. But we’ve already been busy filling it not just with junk, but with our own sexual vocabulary. Sci-fi is full of sex – not just Jane Fonda’s simulated zero-gravity striptease in Barbarella, but the violent rampages of H.R. Giger’s Xenomorph, specifically and cruelly designed with phallic rape in mind for the shattering Alien movies.

Sex and space have ways of colliding in real life. Think of all the rocket-themed sexual vocabulary of the missile envy-driven Cold War years. Think of the message from NASA’s Curiosity rover when it touched down on Mars: “GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!

Think of the theory of panspermia, the notion that life might be seeded throughout the universe by tiny organisms that can survive outside the nurturing embrace of their home planets – perhaps ejected into outer space by explosions on the surface, or carried there by some other means. As Neil Young put it in After the Gold Rush: “All in a dream, all in a dream/the loading had begun/flying mother nature’s silver seed/to a new home in the sun.”

Think of that: a millennia-long evolutionary saga whose eventual protagonists spend a shocking proportion of their tiny lives obsessing over their genitals. And millions of years later, here we are laughing at Jeff Bezos’s rocket, wondering half-seriously whether or not he really didn’t notice its shape as he climbed aboard.

Dreaming of human endeavors beyond the upper atmosphere is not incompatible with snorting at a self-serious billionaire’s space phallus. Bezos and his ilk are doomed (or blessed) to live in a post-Freudian culture where anything remotely long or straight is one unfortunate contour away from design disaster, and no amount of money will change that.

It’s their self-seriousness as much as anything else that deserves to be mocked. Elon Musk, future captain of his own gigglesome rocket, got plenty of stick recently when he shared an earnest little poem that took aim at the haters: “Space represents hope for so many people,” he bleated, as he took fire from those justly furious at the billionaire class’s relative indifference to the climate emergency.

Musk and Bezos and their comrades deserve much harsher consequences for their celestial entitlement than ridicule, but so long as we stop short of saving our world for ourselves and wait for someone to stop us from buying things off Amazon from inside our variously overheated and overcooled homes, ridicule is what they shall have.

And if you pay as much as Jeff Bezos did for an unmistakably phallic rocket with an embarrassingly short flight time, you deserve everything you get.

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