Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has raised eyebrows with the announcement that he and his brother (Mark Bezos) will be on the first flight of his Blue Origin spaceship New Shepard.
New Shepard is expected to be launched next month on 20 July to orbit more than 100km (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface.
Bezos made the surprise announcement on an Instagram post, in which he posted a video of him and his brother, who he described as his best friend. Mark Bezos is a former advertising executive and volunteer firefighter.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
“To see the earth from space, it changes you,” he added in the video. “It changes your relationship with the earth, with humanity – it’s one earth.”
In the video Bezos also shared a touching moment when he asks his brother if he will join him on the first flight. His brother Mark was surprised but quickly agreed.
The two then embraced and Bezos kisses his brother.
The New Shepard spacecraft is named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space,
It is a reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognized boundary of space.
Because is reusuable, the booster rocket lands vertically, like SpaceX’s Starship and other rockets.
The crew capsule meanwhile, which can carry up to six people, has huge windows to give the astronauts a stunning view of the earth. It returns to earth and also lands vertically using a combination of parachutes and retro rockets.
And there will be a third person joining the Bezos brothers onboard, after Blue Origin announced in May that its first flight would auction off one seat to the highest bidder.
On 12 June Blue Origin will hold a live auction to determine the winner. The money raised will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, which promotes STEM education initiatives, the company said.
The spaceflight of Jeff Bezos on 20 July will mean that for a short period of time, he will no longer be the richest man on the planet.
And some will also point to the date being one of the best retirement gifts Bezos could buy himself.
Bezos had announced in early February that after 27 years in charge, he would step down sometime in the third quarter and be succeeded by Amazon veteran Andy Jassy, who currently heads Amazon’s cloud computing business (AWS).
Bezos will transition to executive chairman of the board.
Last month Bezos confirmed he would step down at CEO on 5 July, on what he admitted was a sentimental date after nearly 30 years in charge of Amazon
Just fifteen days later, he and his brother will blast off from the planet.
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