A little over a week after English business magnate and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson accomplished, well, similar, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is heading to space this Tuesday morning.
Watch a livestream above, with coverage set to start around 8:15 am ET. The actual launch, which will take place in the West Texas desert outside El Paso, is scheduled for 9 am.
Bezos will be aboard New Shepard, a spacecraft built by his company, Blue Origin. This marks the 16th New Shepard to fly to space, but its first with astronauts (or in some cases facsimiles thereof) on board.
Joining Bezos on this nearly 11-minute trip will be his brother, Mark; aviation pioneer Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, who as a member of Mercury 13 aka the First Lady Astronaut Trainees some 60 years ago had her original space travel dreams dashed; and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old physics student who scored a seat when the original winning bidder, of $28 million for the ticket, backed out due to a conflict.
What sets Bezos’ journey apart from Branson’s? New Shepard will cross the Kármán line, which is located 62 miles above sea level and is largely recognized as the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. Branson’s July 11 trip aboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity rocket place soared three miles above NASA’s minimum space baseline (of 50 miles above sea level), but fell shy of the Kármán line.
Following the launch, a live press conference with the astronauts will be broadcast on BlueOrigin.com.