After stepping down as CEO of Amazon earlier this month, Jeff Bezos has taken on a new role. On Tuesday, Bezos and his space business, Blue Origin, flew over the edge of space onboard the New Shepard rocket, which was the company’s first human space voyage. His brother, Mark, as well as Wally Funk, a trailblazing female aviator, and Oliver Daemen, a Dutch youngster, were aboard the spacecraft.
The launch was a success
The New Shepard rocket, which Bezos’ Blue Origin space business has been constructing for years, launched at 9:12 a.m. Eastern time, carrying one of the most eccentric astronaut crews ever to leave Earth.
Bezos’ brother, Mark, was also on board, as was Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer, and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old Dutch student who lucked into the flight when the winner of an auction for the fourth seat had to cancel. The launch was nine days after Richard Branson flew on a similar suborbital trajectory, setting records for both the oldest and youngest person to journey to space. The back-to-back launches were yet another proof of space exploration’s current resurgence, which is being fuelled by a booming commercial space industry financed by billionaires rather than by states.
Blue Origin is reaching $100 million in seat sales for future flights, according to Bezos.
Some insights on Blue Origin
Blue Origin’s trip was a small, up-and-down suborbital jaunt, just over 66.5 miles up, a mere toe dip in the grandeur of the cosmos that lasted just over 10 minutes from takeoff to landing, as far as space travel goes.
However, it was a momentous milestone for Blue Origin, which Bezos created in2000, as it was the company’s first human spaceflight and a message that it was establishing a claim in a current space race dominated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, on the other hand, has been fixated on the idea of settling on Mars. Getting to Mars is a lot easier than creating one of O’Neill’s colonies, but making the frigid, airless planet habitable for humans would be a huge endeavor. Despite Tuesday’s successful flight, Blue Origin still has a long way to go.
Blue Origin will need considerably more than the modest New Shepard vehicle that Mr. Bezos and three other passengers flew to the edge of space on Tuesday to have the influence on humanity’s future that he describes.
What Bezos says about this project
He said a few years ago, “The only way I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by translating my Amazon riches into space flight,” framing his investment as altruism. Mr. Bezos has sketched a vision of humanity’s future that is informed by the ideas of Princeton physicist Gerard K. O’Neill.
Dr. O’Neill envisaged gigantic cylinder-shaped space colonies in the 1970s, which, if large enough, could support considerably more people and industry than Earth could.
“Mr. Bezos stated, “The solar system can easily accommodate a trillion humans.” “If we had a trillion persons, we’d have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts, as well as unlimited resources and solar power for all practical purposes.”
Does this flight come with liability insurance?
According to the New York Times, Bezos will launch into space without liability insurance. While the New Shepard is almost certainly insured, brokers told the New York Times that neither Bezos nor Branson appeared to have purchased insurance in case they were injured in their search for space. However, when asked about their insurance coverage, Branson and Blue Origin denied or would not comment.
Mr. Bezos was thrilled on Tuesday, regardless of Blue Origin’s future. Is he planning a return trip? He said, “Hell yes.” How quickly can you refill that beast?