Amazon and Blue Origin founder, Jeff Bezos, is ready to blast off into space on Tuesday, aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital launch vehicle. The space-faring company’s first crewed mission will launch from west Texas.
Blue Origin said in a statement on Tuesday the New Shepard launch vehicle was “on the pad, the launch team completed vehicle rollout this morning and final preparations are underway”.
Blue Origin flight: Date and time
Liftoff is scheduled for 8am Central Time (CT) – or 3pm South African Standard Time (SAST) – from a remote facility called Launch Site One, 40km north of the nearest town.
Blue Origin’s sales director Ariane Cornell said today marked the “first of many [crewed] flights to come on New Shepard”.
WATCH LIVE: Jeff Bezos is going to space
New Shepard has already flown 15 uncrewed flights, and today marks its first crewed flight. Bezos will be accompanied by his younger brother Mark, who is the Bezos Family Foundation’s director, as well as two special guests.
Bezos on Monday said he was excited about the trip “but not anxious”. Speaking to Fox Business Network, he said: “We’ll see how I feel when I’m strapped into my seat.”
“We’re ready. The vehicle’s ready. This team is amazing. I feel very good about it. And I think my fellow crewmates feel good about it, too.”
New Shepard crew
The billionaire brothers will be joined by 18-year-old Dutchman Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk – who will today become the world’s youngest and oldest astronauts to travel into space, respectively.
This follows after Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson beat Bezos by nine days and launched into space on 11 July in what has become the world’s most costly game of “battle of the billionaires”.
Blue Origin plans to set a new record today: in the altitude to which its reusable New Shepard craft will ascend compared to Branson’s and Virgin Galactic’s Spaceplane VSS Unity.