Picture: Reuters/Isaiah J. Downing
Picture: Reuters/Isaiah J. Downing

LIVE: Watch Jeff Bezos blast off into space

By Wesley Diphoko Time of article published Jul 20, 2021

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Jeff Bezos, who recently stepped down as the CEO of Amazon, will live out his life-long dream of traveling to space (or at least the edge of it) aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The suborbital trip will take place today, 20 July, on the 51st anniversary of the first moon landing.

The launch will mark a giant leap for the space-tourism industry, as it will be Blue Origin’s first human flight, and will include on board its first ever paying customer: 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who will also be the youngest person to fly to space. In addition to Bezos and Daemen, aviation pioneer Wally Funk will be on board (at 82, the oldest person ever to go into space), as will Jeff Bezos’s brother, Mark Bezos.


New Shepard’s liftoff is on track for 9AM ET (3pm, SA Time). Some early Tuesday morning storms are predicted to clear up before then, the company said on Sunday.

“The launch crew is ready, the vehicle is ready, the crew is ready, and the flight director is ready,” Blue Origin’s NS-16 flight director Steve Lanius told reporters on Sunday. The 6-story-tall New Shepard will lift off from Blue Origin’s rocket facilities in Van Horn, a remote town in the western desert of Texas. The crew capsule will detach from the New Shepard booster at an altitude of roughly 62 miles to spend a few minutes in the weightlessness of microgravity where the crew can see the curvature of Earth. By about that time, the rocket booster will have landed vertically not far from where it launched. The crew capsule will return minutes later under a set of parachutes.


You can watch the livestream here. For other mission updates leading up to launch, you might want to check Bezos’ Instagram. He’s been uploading all sorts of pre-launch video reels with him and his crew.


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