The new space race is on but will we be part of it? - BBC News

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BBC News 17 July, 2021 - 08:43am 34 views

What time is Blue Origin launch?

Blue Origin's first human launch with Jeff Bezos: When to watch and what to know. The launch is set for 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on July 20, 2021. Space.comBlue Origin's first human launch with Jeff Bezos: When to watch and what to know

When is Jeff Bezos space flight?

“Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space,” Mr. Bezos said in an Instagram post. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.” Liftoff! The Wall Street JournalJeff Bezos in Space: What the 10-Minute Blue Origin Flight Will Be Like

Is Bezos going to space?

When is Jeff Bezos going to space? Bezos will head skywards on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 on a journey that from lift-off to soft landing will take just 11 minutes. ForbesJeff Bezos In Space: When And Where You Can Watch The Billionaire Take An 11-Minute Trip To The Edge Of Space

Who was on Virgin Galactic flight?

On May 5, 1961, Commander Alan Shepard piloted his Mercury Freedom 7 spacecraft to a soaring height of 116 miles above the planet's surface to become the first American to reach Earth's orbit. This past Sunday, Sir Richard Branson was escorted to an altitude of 50 miles aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Unity. EngadgetCan Richard Branson really call himself an astronaut after Sunday's Virgin Galactic flight?

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Last week was a great week for space-tourism pioneer Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) -- if a bit less great for Virgin Galactic stock. On July 11, Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson successfully flew to space and back aboard the VSS Unity spaceplane.

But even before Branson had landed, Virgin Galactic's stock was crashing back to Earth.

In fact, over the five days since Branson completed his historic flight, Virgin Galactic shares have shed more than 36% of their share price. Today, the stock made a half-hearted attempt to revive -- rising nearly 5% in early trading -- but quickly gave up the attempt.

As of 11:40 a.m. EDT, Virgin Galactic stock is down again, falling another 1.5% beyond yesterday's close.

Why is that? Well, consider this: With no revenues and no profits to its name, Virgin Galactic is what we call a "story stock." Potentially, its future could be bright. But absent any hard numbers today to hang a valuation on, it's a stock that tends to trade up or down based on how interested investors are in betting on that far future.

This makes Virgin Galactic stock vulnerable to declines whenever investor interest wanes. And right now, it's waning because, well, Sir Richard has already flown his flight. He came back safe and sound, but now it's time to start paying attention to the next billionaire lining up to travel to space.

That billionaire is Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, who plans to fly to space on July 20, along with his brother, "Mercury 13" astronaut-hopeful Wally Funk, and hedge fund scion Oliver Daemen. In so doing, Blue Origin will make history in three ways -- sending its founder to space, and also sending to space simultaneously the oldest and the youngest humans ever to go there (respectively, 82-year-young Funk and 18-year-old Daemen).  

Adding to the drama, Daemen is a last-minute replacement on this mission. He was added to the passenger roster after the (still unidentified) person who bid $28 million for the privilege last month unexpectedly dropped out, citing "scheduling conflicts."

You'd be hard-pressed to write a science fiction story as interesting as the facts of this mission. If the drama has momentarily distracted investors away from Virgin Galactic stock, it's no wonder at all.

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Read full article at BBC News

Meet the mom heading to space on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship

Fox News 17 July, 2021 - 12:01pm

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Richard Branson discusses his test flight for Virgin Galactic after touching down safely Sunday, saying he wants to make space travel accessible for everyone.

This Jupiter, Florida-based space enthusiast is ready for take-off. 

Kellie Gerardi, a 32-year-old bioastronautics researcher and social media influencer is gearing up for the flight of her life – to space with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. 

"I’m absolutely overwhelmed with excitement," Gerardi told FOX News in an email interview. "Calling this my 'life’s dream’ doesn’t seem to do it justice. I could have never dreamed of this moment." 

The out-of-this-world opportunity will be on board an upcoming space flight on the VSS Unity out of New Mexico. The spaceship’s official launch kicked off Sunday with Virgin Galactic founder Branson blasting off 53 miles above Earth. Branson’s company is planning to test out more flights ahead of its commercial launch slated for 2022 with the goal to help make flying to space more accessible. (Virgin Galactic's current ticket price for going to space is $250,000 per person).

While Gerardi is unable to reveal details on when her mission will launch, to prepare for the journey, she says she’s loading up on vitamins, and carefully choreographing her movements and practicing them for the cabin in a test spacesuit.

"Because this is a dedicated research mission, my flight will involve additional training and operational protocols that differ from a tourist flight. I am beyond excited for astronaut training," Gerardi said. 

Gerardi, who grew up living around two hours from NASA’s rocket-launching operation in Cape Canaveral, discovered her passion for space when she joined The Explorers Club – New York-based group that promotes the study of scientific exploration. And she made a name for herself on social media where her 144,000 followers will be updated on her journey to space. 

Just a sincere thank you for being here. The adventure is only beginning! ❤️

Now, Gerardi has made it her mission to find like-minded individuals trying to democratize access to space, and promote opportunities for women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) fields, considering fewer than 20% of people who have been to space are women. 

"Less than one hundred women in history (and only a handful of moms) have ever flown to space, and I really believe representation matters," Gerardi says, adding that she wants her daughter, 3-year-old, Delta V – and all children --  to know "the sky’s the limit." 

"The most rewarding part for me has definitely been telling our 3-year-old daughter, Delta V. I get emotional when I think about what it means for her to watch me, her Mommy, become an astronaut," Gerardi said. 

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Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Where Space Really Begins

msnNOW 17 July, 2021 - 12:01pm

For much of the world, the boundary to space is considered the imaginary Karman Line, which starts around 62 miles above Earth and which Mr. Bezos and his Blue Origin LLC capsule is scheduled to cross on Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration considers space starting 50 miles above Earth, and those that fly above that level as astronauts. Mr. Branson and the rest of his Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. crew received their astronaut wing badges on Sunday after passing that boundary but staying below the Karman Line.

Experts say there is little different in the passenger experience at the high points of the Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic flights, but their contrasting paths have led to a renewed examination of where space begins—an answer that differs based on whether you are approaching the question from a scientific, commercial or legal viewpoint.

“Scientists recognize that there are a lot of different ways to define the boundaries of space,” said Katherine de Kleer, a professor of astronomy and planetary science at the California Institute of Technology.

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