19 July 2021

Jeff Bezos is flying to space. Here's everything you need to know.

Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet, is preparing for a rocket-powered, 11-minute 2,300-mph excursion to the edge of space, capping off a month filled with rocket news and a bit of drama among the world's richest people who are dedicating large portions of their wealth to rocket development.

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.

New Shepard has flown 15 automated test flights with no people on board, and Bezos announced in early June that he intended to be on the first-ever crewed flight, which is slated for July 20.

The public will be able to watch the whole thing go down on Blue Origin's livestream, where it will show exterior shots of the rocket and capsule shooting up toward the cosmos. 

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