Imagine you are endless money. Only one an unstoppable amount of dollars“The ability to.” buy anything and destabilize everything. Do you use it for the end of world hunger? Do you actually do something for mitigation climate crisis? Ha ha, no. You’re going into space! Or at least work if you do Jeff Bezos. Or the director of Virgin Richard Branson.
On Tuesday, Bezos’ Blue Origin will launch a crew, including its former CEO Amazon somewhat less high profile brother, searching October pilot, and young Dutch physics student to the outer edges of the planet. (WIRED’s Steven Levy will be reporting live from the launch site, so watch out his dispatches.)
If you want to watch, here are the details:
- The launch will be broadcast on the Blue Origin website. Here’s the connection.
- Broadcasting begins at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, July 20th. Actual launch target at 9:00 ET, but expect delays. (As with all flights, this schedule depends on the weather and whims random animals, or any number of technical snafus. The rocket launch is dangerous, and things can go wrong.)
This event is historic enough. There have been only a few launches of commercial manned spacecraft, and this is the first Blue Origin. (If you record the result, Virgin made another flight with the crew. Muskov SpaceX throws people into space for some time, although no one was a civilian yet.) Thanks to the last-minute change of reservation, the launch also now has the difference in that it carries both the youngest and the oldest person to ever go into space. This is especially tidy for the 82-year-old passenger and former pilot Wally Funk, who was previously denied life dream space travel.
This launch is obviously a big deal for Bezos as well. Billionaires have locked themselves into the Cold War, each eager to go down in history as the first head of a space tourism brand to throw itself into the thermosphere. Branson took the win last week, with bombastic mission in his ship the Virgin Galactic. Bezos will try for second place, even though Blue Origin was wants to point out that is the limit of what makes up space a little controversial. The parabolic journey of the Bezos gang will take them past Karman’s line“Or 62 miles up, the U.S. Department of Defense round number marking the boundary of space (the Federal Aviation Administration uses a milder 50 miles, as Branson flew last week)” – and keep them there just long enough to tickle the abyss. There will probably be enough time to insure label future travel attracts those with dough.
Of course, these ambitions at high altitude have come under fire from critics who point out things like how all the money is space billionaires avoid paying in taxes can be used for financing public resources like NASA. (You know, an agency that has been sending people into space for 60 years.) Or that Bezos has spent the last few decades overseeing company it has did his fair share destroy the planet’s environment and trample on workers’ rights. This whole venture really loses some of its egalitarian glow of a “giant leap for humanity” when it focuses on a guy who spent time on Earth forcing his employees to poop in bags while you are on the clock.
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