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. “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.
However, with this announcement, Bezos would be the first among the trio to actually head into outer space. The launch would take place roughly two weeks after Bezos officially steps down as CEO of Amazon.
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, which may lead to a greater interest in the launch on July 20. However, no details were provided in any announcement on how people could watch the launch.
Test launches for Blue Origin have been live streamed through both its website (BlueOrigin.com) and YouTube. It is likely that will again be a way for interested parties to tune in. But more than a month out, no news networks have announced any planned coverage, nor is there any word on a special stream through Amazon Prime Video or anything of the like.
People are interested in new launches, as evidenced by SpaceX’s first-ever crewed mission 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. For comparison, the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, drew 600 million eyes on TV.
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