Billionaires, they never like to be called that. Jeff Bezos, former Amazon CEO and the world’s richest person, is about to become the second billionaire to shoot himself into space, or close to it. But he would rather not talk about that.
Blue Origin, Bezos’ space company, is launching the New Shepard rocket to the edge of space today, Tuesday, July 20. It will carry Bezos and his brother, Mark Bezos, but also the world’s oldest and youngest person to have ever flown in space. The latter is also the first paying customer to travel to space, and Blue Origin hopes his presence on board will pave the way for future commercial flights.
Bezos and the team that will board the self-piloted New Shepard today have been doing the media rounds to discuss the launch. You will find two interviews at the bottom of the page, and will probably notice that they’re more or less the same: even the jokes are the same.
The CNN bit includes a bit more from Bezos, though, namely on how he won’t pay any attention to critics saying he’s just another billionaire building rockets so he and rich fellows like him can go on space joyrides. He’s not. There are many problems on Earth, and he agrees that they should be solved ASAP, but he’s also looking to the future. The future is space travel, he believes, with the goal for Blue Origin to become “really good at operational space travel.”
“If we can do that, then we’ll be building a road to space for the next generations to do amazing things there. And those amazing things will solve problems here on Earth,” he says. A vague answer that tries to pass for an explanation. Bezos adds that he doesn’t know how those 11 minutes in weightlessness will change his life, but he knows that they will.
New Shepard will travel to the edge of space, at 62 miles (100 km), and float there for about 11 minutes before beginning its descend. Bezos hopes it will be the start of a new era, one in which space travel becomes as common (and, hopefully, affordable) as boarding an airliner today.
Blue Origin’s trip to space is about getting “really good at operational space travel,” Jeff Bezos says. “If we can do that, then we’ll be building a road to space for the next generations to do amazing things there. And those amazing things will solve problems here on Earth.” pic.twitter.com/dU6qAR2ZJB
— New Day (@NewDay) July 19, 2021