Well, we now know what Jeff Bezos is going to be doing in his retirement from leading Amazon — travelling to space. Bezos announced via Instagram on Monday, June 7, that he, and his brother Mark Bezos, would be among the passengers for the first manned-launch by his Blue Origin space company taking place on July 20.
“Ever since I was 5 years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” said Bezos in the Instagram post (opens in new tab). “On July 20, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000. Along with other billionaires Elon Musk (SpaceX) and Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), the three are in their own kind of space race. SpaceX has had the most high-profile successes, conducting missions to the international space station and landing a contract with NASA for lunar missions.
Bezos was slated to be the first of the trio to make it to space, but in a bit of a surprise Branson edged him out on a recent launch by Virgin Galactic.
The plan for the Blue Origin flight is for the 59-foot rocket to blast off and reach a height of 60 miles above the Earth. It is estimated that the flight will take about 11 minutes. The Blue Origin rocket and capsule, dubbed New Shephard, can carry six people. The Bezos brothers are the only two confirmed passengers as of right now. An auction is currently underway for one of the seats, with bidding having reached $2.8 million as of the morning of June 7.
The July 20 launch date is the 52 anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
How to watch the New Shepard launch?
Bezos set the internet abuzz with his announcement, now we'll see if the actual launch can draw people's eyeballs.
Discovery and The Washington Post (which Bezos owns) have announced that they will provide live coverage of the launch. A live show, Space Launch LIVE: Blue Origin & Jeff Bezos Go To Space, will air on Discovery and Science Channels, as well as washingtonpost.com at 8 a.m. ET on July 20.
There will then be a one-hour special at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery, Jeff Bezos in Space: Blue Origin Takes Flight. The special will highlight the launch, feature interviews and behind-the-scenes material. It will air again on July 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the Science Channel.
Discovery and Science Channels are available through cable subscriptions and vMVPD subscriptions, including Fubo TV, Sling TV, Philo and Hulu with Live TV. The launch will also be available to stream through Discovery Plus.
People are interested in new launches, as evidenced by SpaceX’s first-ever crewed mission (opens in new tab) that took place in May 2020, which according to NASA had at least 10.3 million people watching across multiple platforms at its peak viewership, which set a record for internet viewership. Branson's flight, which was streamed live on YouTube, has more than 7.8 million views to date (no data on live numbers are readily available). For comparison, the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, drew 600 million eyes on TV.
Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.
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