© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster and Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing/File

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – The fourth commercial flight of Jeff Bezos’ space tourism venture Blue Origin, offering short suborbital joyrides to well-heeled thrill-seekers and celebrity guests, was due for liftoff on Tuesday from the company’s launch site in rural west Texas.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft was slated for launch at 8:30 a.m. CDT (1330 GMT) with six would-be citizen astronauts strapped into the crew cabin atop the fully autonomous launch vehicle, standing nearly six stories tall, outside Van Horn, Texas.

But unlike Blue Origin’s first three commercial flights, with passenger rosters including “Star Trek” actor William Shatner, morning TV host Michael Strahan and even Bezos himself, nobody among the latest group of customers even comes close to being famous.

The most recent household name confirmed as a non-paying promotional guest, “Saturday Night Live” comic Pete Davidson, dropped out earlier this month when the planned launch was postponed for six days from its original March 23 date to allow time for additional pre-flight tests.

Days later the company announced that Davidson, 28, the boyfriend of reality TV star Kim Kardashian, had been replaced on the latest “crew” manifest by veteran Blue Origin designer Gary Lai, architect of the New Shepard reusable launch system.

Lai is flying for free. He joins five previously announced paying customers – angel investor Marty Allen, real estate veteran Marc Hagle and his wife Sharon Hagle, entrepreneur and University of North Carolina professor Jim Kitchen and George Nield, founder-president of Commercial Space Technologies.

Kitchen’s journey to the final frontier caps a lifelong dedication to travel that has taken him to all 193 U.N.-recognized countries, according to biographical material from Blue Origin.

Tuesday’s entire flight, from liftoff to touchdown, is expected to last just over 10 minutes. The crew will experience a few minutes of weightlessness at the very apex of their suborbital ride, some 350,000 feet (106,680 metres) high, before their capsule falls back to Earth for a parachute landing on the desert floor.

Bezos, the billionaire founder of online retail giant Amazon (NASDAQ:), tagged along himself on Blue Origin’s inaugural crewed flight to the edge of space last July.

He accompanied his brother, Mark Bezos, trailblazing octogenarian female aviator Wally Funk and an 18-year-old Dutch high school graduate.

Later passengers included Shatner, who became the oldest person to fly to space at age 90, “Good Morning America” co-host and retired NFL star Strahan, and the eldest daughter of pioneering astronaut Alan Shepard, for whom Blue Origin’s spacecraft is named.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here