Amazon founder Jeff Bezos remarked this Saturday that billionaire Richard Branson’s flight into space on Sunday It should not be considered as such as it will not reach the sufficient altitude, 100 kilometers, something that he assured himself will achieve with his manned trip on the Blue Origin.
One day before take-off from Branson with an aircraft from his company Virgin Galactic, which will reach an altitude of 80 kilometers, Bezos tried to downplay that trip.
“Only 4% of the world recognizes the limit of 80 kilometers or 50 miles as the beginning of space. New Shepard flies above both. One of the many benefits of flying with Blue Origin,” the company said in a statement on the mission of your aircraft.
Bezos insisted that the space begins in the so-called Kármán line, at an altitude of 100 kilometers, a limit that his aircraft will cross.
Branson will fly from New Mexico on Sunday with three other crewmembers and two pilots. nine days before the mission planned by the founder of Amazon, amid growing rivalry among billionaires.
Jeff Bezos, in Texas, at the helm of Blue Origin. Photo Blue Origin
Bezos announced in early June his intention to travel into space aboard an aircraft from his company Blue Origin, which has competed with Virgin Galactic in the aerospace passenger transport race since the beginning of the century.
Along with him will be his brother, Mark Bezos, the 82-year-old pilot Wally Funk and a fourth passenger who won the auction launched by Blue Origin by paying $ 28 million and whose name has not yet been revealed.
Bezos and Branson share their obsession with space with the billionaire Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX).
Musk expressed his desire to found a city on Mars with a population of one million by 2050, while Branson intends to move the current model of air travel into space, with high-speed and high-speed journeys. transportation to hotels on other planets.
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Galactic. Reuters photo
Virgin Galactic, the Branson company, had announced earlier this month that its next test flight would be this Sunday, July 11, and that its founder would be one of the six people on board. The spacecraft will take off from New Mexico, and will be the first to carry a full team of company employees.
But it happens that the news broke hours after Blue Origin, Bezos’s company, indicated that the founder of Amazon would be escorted into space on July 20 by an aerospace pioneer who waited 60 years to take off.
Bezos selected July 20 as the launch date from West Texas, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Just a month ago he decided he would go on the flight, the last leg in a space race between the two tycoons.
The founder of Amazon will go on the first manned launch of Blue Origin, accompanied by his brother, by the winner of a charity auction that paid 28 million dollars, and by Wall Funk, one of the last survivors of the Mercury 13 that was selected as “Honor guest”.
All 13 pilots passed the same tests as the Mercury 7 astronauts in the early 1960s, but were barred from being part of the corps and spaceflight because they are women.
Richard Branson, in 2019, celebrating that his company had entered the NY market. AFP photo
Branson responded to these Blue Origin announcements by anticipating his space travel. In fact, he had refused to say when he would go into space due to the restrictions imposed by his company. But he stressed that he was “fit and healthy” to fly as soon as his engineers cleared it.
“I have always been a dreamer. My mom taught me never to give up and reach for the stars. July 11 is the time to make that dream a reality aboard the next VirginGalactic, ” he had tweeted.
Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin flights last approximately 10 minutes, with about three minutes of weightlessness. But the comebacks are quite different: Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane glides down to a runway, like the old NASA space shuttles did, with a couple of pilots at the helm.
Meanwhile, the two billionaires continue in the private space race.