Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin crew launch into space

Banhorn, Texas — On Tuesday, Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest man in the world, went into space. It was a short excursion on a spacecraft built by Mr. Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin — ascending more than 65 miles over western Texas.

Bezos was beaten last week by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, who flew a rocket-powered plane from his company Virgin Galactic, but some analysts were founded by Bezos over 20 years ago. Blue Origin is a more important competitor in the future space economy. The company has ambitions that go far beyond short-haul flights for space travelers, backed by entrepreneurs who have made Amazon an economic powerhouse.

Lori Garver, NASA’s deputy administrator during the Obama administration, said Bezos “has a huge, long-term vision for multiple generations.” She added that his intention for Blue Origin was “to compete for higher stakes.”

2017, Mr. Bezos Announcement He plans to sell $ 1 billion of Amazon stock annually to fund space ventures, and Blue Origin has already won a contract for NASA astronaut Lunar Module, launched a Pentagon satellite, and much more. We have pursued various business opportunities. Pentagon for large reusable rockets.

In recent years, before resigning from Amazon’s CEO, Bezos usually spent one day a week (usually Wednesday) focusing on Blue Origin. Bezos himself sitting in a capsule for a space trip on Tuesday reveals that he has spaceflight at the top of his spending list.

“The only way I can see to develop this much funding is to convert Amazon prizes into space travel,” he says. Said A few years ago, he called for his investment as a form of philanthropy.

Bezos explained the vision of humanity’s future, influenced by the proposal of Princeton physicist Gerard K. O’Neill. In the 1970s, Dr. O’Neill proposed a large number of giant cylindrical space colonies to support far more people and industries than possible on Earth.

“The solar system can easily support a trillion people,” Bezos said. “If you have a trillion people, you have 1000 Einstein and 1000 Mozart, and you have unlimited for all practical purposes, resources, and solar power.”

In contrast, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has focused on the idea of ​​settling Mars. Going to Mars is an easier task than building one of O’Neill’s colonies, but making cold, airless Mars kind to human civilization is a daunting task.

And despite the successful flight on Tuesday, Blue Origin has made a lot of progress. To influence Bezos’s future of humanity, Blue Origin needs much more than the small New Shepard car that Bezos and three other passengers flew to the edge of space on Tuesday. Probably.

Private companies have always worked with the government on space travel, but it has only been in the last few decades that private companies have begun to create business opportunities from tourism space flight.

Blue Origin’s achievements are next to a rocket company led by another of the wealthiest people in the world. SpaceX was founded by Musk a few years after Blue Origin began.

SpaceX is already a space business giant. It regularly carries NASA astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station, has already deployed more than 1,500 satellites at the Starlink Constellation, and provides Internet services everywhere. We are also developing a huge rocket called Starship for missions such as Mars.

In contrast, Blue Origin’s upcoming projects do not seem ready to disrupt the space industry like SpaceX, at least in the near future.

New Glenn, a larger reusable rocket for launching satellites that Bezos’ company is working on, is still more than a year away, and efforts to win major government contracts such as launching Pentagon satellites are It’s empty for now. The lunar module, which Blue Origin wants NASA to use to carry astronauts someday, said that NASA only has money for one design, SpaceX, so at least for now. Was not chosen.

The Blue Origin mascot is a turtle. Like the parable “Turtle and Rabbit,” Blue Origin can catch up, perhaps steadily and with constant effort.

Gerber recalled Bezos going to Washington to meet her and NASA administrator Charles Bolden. At that time, Blue Origin was a mystery.

“We were excited to hear his plan,” she said. “It’s:” I’m here because I’m investing in a space company. I am ready to make a lot of investment in the long run. And my goal is very much in line with NASA. So if I can help in any way, let’s work together. “

Blue Origin is working on a capsule that can carry astronauts to the International Space Station and has won a $ 25.6 million development contract from NASA. However, work on the vehicle was stalled, and Blue Origin eventually dropped out of the competition for a contract to go to Boeing and SpaceX.

“It was slower and steady than everyone wanted,” Gerber said.

But she said the comparison with SpaceX’s extraordinary success was a bit unfair.

“We are really spoiled by SpaceX right now,” Gerber said.

Even if Blue Origin hasn’t realized its high vision yet, competition will intensify as more companies grow. “I’m not really as disappointed as some people at their pace,” Gerber said. “I think they’ll get there. We need competition.”

Laura Seward Forczyk, the founder of the aerospace consulting firm Astralytical, was also positive. “Their progress is slow, but there have been no major failures to show me that they are at risk,” she said. “Blue Origin is still moving forward.”

Blue Origin is waiting for Bezos to lead it, but Tuesday’s flight was a milestone and the first flight to bring people into space, even though it didn’t go into orbit.

At 8:11 am central time, a chunky rocket and capsule named New Shepard after Alan Shepard, the first American in space, is a thin fire and exhaust jet from the rocket’s engine. Ascended from the company’s launch site.

Over the last six years, Blue Origin has successfully completed 15 unoccupied test flights, and engineers have considered New Shepard, flying without a pilot, finally ready for passengers.

The other three passengers were Mark, Bezos’ brother. Oliver Demen, a Dutch student who was the first paid passenger of Blue Origin. Pilot Mary Wallace Funk, one of a group of women who passed the same strict astronaut selection criteria adopted by NASA in the 1960s but did not have the opportunity to board the rocket until Tuesday.

At the age of 18, Mr. Daimon was the youngest person in history to go to space. At 82, Funk, who passes by Wally, was the oldest.

“Thank you, lover,” Funk told Jeff Bezos after landing. “I’ve been waiting for a long time.”

When the booster ran out of propellant, the capsule disengaged from the rocket at an altitude of about 47 miles. Both parts coasted upwards to 66.5 miles, crossing the 62-mile boundary, often thought to be the beginning of outer space.

Passengers unbuckled and floated around the capsule, flipping and throwing ping-pong balls and skittles candies, experiencing about four minutes of free fall.

The booster landed vertically near the launch site, similar to SpaceX’s rival, the reusable Falcon 9 rocket. The capsule then descended under the parachute until it gently submerged in the dust.

It ended in 10 minutes and 10 seconds after the launch. A few minutes later, the four appeared euphoric from the capsule and were greeted by hugs from friends and family.

Two more passengers are scheduled for this year, and the company hopes to accelerate the pace of operations next year. Blue Origin hasn’t revealed how much early customers are paying or how many have signed up. However, Bezos said: And the demand is very high. “

In addition to the high cost of tickets to New Shepard, Bezos noted the enormous wealth he had at his disposal when he first described how it was possible to fund Blue Origin. I called for.

“We also want to thank all Amazon employees and all Amazon customers,” Bezos said at a post-flight press conference.

The statement prompted many derogatory reactions from critics. Perhaps a dull attack from those who say they are only using their wealth creates a distraction for the wealthy, so Bezos awarded an individual award for exemplary acts of both courtesy and courage. Announced that it was created.

The award donated $ 100 million to CNN’s political commentator Van Jones and chef and restaurant owner José Andre, respectively, to a charity of their choice.

Whatever the future of Blue Origin, Bezos was happy on Tuesday as well. Does he make another trip?

“Hell yes,” he said. “How fast can you refuel the thing? Let’s go.”

Karen Weise and Neil Vigdor contributed to the report.

Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin crew launch into space

Source link Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin crew launch into space

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