Blue Origin to send humans into space for the first time in July: passengers will be able to float in zero gravity for a few minutes
Sylvie Claire / May 6, 2021
Space tourism company Blue Origin will send humans into space for the first time in July for a few minutes, and one of the seats on board is being auctioned to the general public, the company founded by U.S. billionaire Jeff Bezos announced Wednesday.
On July 20, New Shepard will fly its first crew of astronauts into space, Blue Origin said in a statement, referring to the name of the 18-meter-high reusable rocket the company has been developing for years.
This launcher has successfully completed 15 tests above the Karman line, which according to international convention marks the beginning of space, 100 km above the Earth. But it has never flown with humans on board.
The trip will only take about ten minutes in total. At the top of the rocket will be a capsule that can accommodate up to six people, with large windows on more than a third of the surface of the cockpit.
The rocket will take off vertically and the capsule will separate from it at approximately 75 km of height, continuing its trajectory until exceeding 100 km of altitude.
The passengers on board will be able to float in weightlessness for a few minutes and observe the curvature of space.
During this time, the rocket will come down to land gently on a runway, always vertically.
Then the capsule itself will begin a free fall back to Earth, and will be braked by three large parachutes and retrorockets before landing in a desert in West Texas.
We are offering a seat on this first flight to the bidder who wins the Blue Origin online auction, the company announced, without revealing who else would board New Shepard.
Anyone over the age of 18 can already make an offer on the company's website. The amounts of the bids made will only be revealed on May 19. After that date, participants will have to bid more than the highest bid to continue. The auction will end on June 12.
The funds raised will be donated to Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future, which is designed to encourage the younger generation to pursue careers in science.
Blue Origin's main competitor in this sector of short tourist flights in space is Virgin Galactic. Some 600 people have already bought a ticket for between $200,000 and $250,000, according to the company. Thousands of people are now on the waiting list.