Blue Origin prepare for first human flight on New Shepard

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Jeff Bezos, the mastermind behind Blue Origin and Amazon, is about to become an astronaut. The multibillionaire will fly to the edge of space this Tuesday, July 20, kickstarting Blue Origin’s ambitious space tourism venture. Tomorrow’s mission, officially branded First Human Flight, will see Mr Bezos blast off from West Texas aboard the New Shepard rocket on an 11-minute flight.

Joining the tech mogul are his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old student Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk.

Ms Funk, in particular, is excited to take part in the mission after having been denied the chance to become an astronaut during NASA’s Mercury era in the early 1960s.

Blue Origin’s crew of four will launch from the company’s Launch Site One near Van Horn in Texas.

Weather permitting, liftoff is pencilled in for 2pm BST (9am EDT, 8am CDT, 6am PDT).

New Shepard will carry the crew beyond the Karman line 62 miles up (100km) – the internationally recognised border of space.

After spending a few minutes in weightlessness the crew and their capsule will return to Earth and land in the Texan wilderness.

Bob Smith, Blue Origin CEO, said at a pre-launch conference this Sunday: “We followed a methodical, step-by-step approach to get to this point in time. We’re ready and we can’t wait for Tuesday.”

How to watch the Blue Origin launch tomorrow?

The Blue Origin launch will be broadcast live online on Tuesday for the world to see.

The company will host the live stream on its website, BlueOrigin.com.

Express.co.uk will update this page as soon as the stream becomes available.

The broadcast will begin at 12.30pm BST (7.30am EDT, 6.30am CDT, 4.30am PDT).

And you do not want to miss this broadcast – you will not have a chance to watch it in person tomorrow.

Blue Origin said: “Blue Origin’s Launch Site One is in a remote location in the West Texas desert and there are no on-site public views in the vicinity of the launch site.

“The Texas Department of Transportation will be closing a portion of State Highway 54 adjacent to the launch site and will not allow spectators on the closed portion of the road during the launch.”

Express.co.uk will also run a live blog of the launch tomorrow afternoon, which you can follow the latest updates from Texas.

Blue Origin will also keep a live blog of the action on the company’s official Twitter account.

After the mission’s crew safely returns to Earth, Blue Origin will host a press conference on its website.

Arian Cornell, Director of Astronaut and Orbital Sales at Blue Origin, said on Sunday: “I’ve been here for seven years and let me say, again, we are all very, very excited for Tuesday.

“From a sales perspective, we are particularly excited because we will, again, be flying our first paying customer on New Shepard. That really is a big deal.”

The first paying customer is Mr Daemen who will fly instead of an anonymous auction winner.

The fourth seat on New Shepard was originally won at an auction for the staggering cost of £20million ($28million).

The anonymous person will fly on a future mission, allowing Mr Daemen to become the youngest ever person to fly into space.

At the same time, Ms Funk will become the oldest person to fly into space, setting two records for Blue Origin.

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