When man first set foot on the moon in 1969, whoever knew that tours into space were not far off! Jeff Bezos of eCommerce giant Amazon fame and the world’s richest person blasted off to the edge of space in the Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle. While this was a milestone in private space travel, it came 9 days after billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic inaugural suborbital flight. Seems like space tourism is starting in full swing and the question on your mind would be: when is it going to be your turn. It may be a pretty long wait, because (as crazy as this may sound), the waitlist to space is getting longer by the day.
Jeff Bezos makes his way to the edge of space!
Part of a crew that made history, Jeff Bezos the Founder of eCommerce giant Amazon had a Tuesday that was way better than any ever had in history. He zoomed off into space along with his brother Mark, 82-year-old US aviator Wally Funk, and Dutch high schooler Oliver Daemen.
Space tourism has always been in talks but now that billionaires have actually started scheduling space flights in their daily logs, it seems even real than before. Jeff Bezos’s space flight grabbed eyeballs and very soon the Blue Origin’s website saw thousands of requests and registrations booking seats for a flight into space. Fatigued with the restrictions of the pandemic and with travel here on Earth being so tough, you may have thought of zooming into space too. But here is the deal. You may have to wait.
What do the Blue Origin officials have to say?
An auction was conducted via which the Blue Origin New Shepard managed to attract hordes of interested bidders who wished to fly into the deeper darker unknown. To shed light on this, Clay Mowry, Blue Origin’s head of sales pointed out to a news publication that the auction and Jeff Bezos’s flight into space had generated so much attention that the new Shepard would be flying for years if it did a flight once a month.
The New Shepard vehicle is currently designed to carry out 25 flights each. The company has 2 of these which it operates for human flight and for payloads.
Speaking of the current set of people who have booked their place in the queue to space, Mowry says that most of these are pilots who are enthusiastic about the flight into space being some kind of a scientific experiment.
Did Jeff Bezos profit by designing the vehicle for space flights?
Yes, a flight into the outer world is lucrative and an exciting possibility. Considering that the trip only lasted Jeff Bezos 10 minutes and 22 seconds, going into space is an opportunity of a lifetime that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Costing Bezos $1 billion to develop, the auction has attracted $100 million dollars and so it may be quite a while before it can be said that the venture was profitable to the billionaire.
Can everyone fly into space?
Now that’s another thing. Is space tourism going to be just another demarcation of the rich and the richer? Flying into space is one thing but the process that leads to it itself isn’t conducive to everyone.
The closest airport to the site of the launch pad is in El Paso, 2.5 hours away from the Bezos’s family ranch. Space is sprawling and has tank farms, hangars, and accommodations for those who will be zooming off into space and need to prep for the mission. Will the common person be able to fathom the trip? It remains to be seen how economical it gets with time.
How is the trip to space?
Now for the real question. How really does it feel to be seated in a vehicle that is set to take you to the end of the Earth (literally!)? Mary Wallace Funk, an American aviator and an astronaut, and now the oldest person to reach space, says the trip wasn’t really what she thought it would surmount to. “I thought I was going to see the world, but we weren’t quite high enough.” Often when you think of a flight to space, the artistic visual of the Earth being a blob distant enough comes to mind. However, what you might be greeted with on the flight, is the arc of the sphere-shaped dome that is the Earth.
Have you browsed through tens of hundreds of videos of astronauts floating around within the shuttle due to the absence of gravity? Well, that too may be a little difficult to navigate as the flight vehicle is small and having 4 or 6 passengers as planned, does not give you the room space to try out these fun things.
Is Jeff Bezos’s vehicle for space a reason to applaud?
Of course, Bezos has done the impossible what many would only dream of. He’s curated a vehicle for flights into space that are reusable and automated, however, the distance that these can cover may be a point of debate. The problem is to be countered, as Bezos explained that the new Shepard’s technologies such as the vertical take-off and dependency on hydrogen would be scaled up in the process of building a rocket New Glenn, which would be large in size and counter the existing problems.
Experts however are unsure of when the New Glenn will be launched, and only time will tell if space flights will actually be of a longer duration and can accommodate many people at once!