BREAKING NEWS: Jeff Bezos and the crew of New Shepard have lifted off from an extremely remote plot of land near Van Horn, Texas, and are now traveling up into space.
Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, eighty-two-year-old pilot Wally Funk, and eighteen-year-old Oliver Daemen waved as they left the Astronaut Training Center to head to the launch pad earlier today, according to a video feed provided by Blue Origin.
Lift off! Blue Origin's New Shepherd space craft takes flight #BezosLaunch pic.twitter.com/v12FYszPe6
— Norah O'Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) July 20, 2021
Bezos and his 3 fellow passengers are flying aboard New Shepard, a suborbital capsule and rocket system built by his space company, Blue Origin.
The entire flight is estimated to take only eleven minutes and it is considered a suborbital flight, which means the New Shepard rocket ship will not make it to orbit. However, it will go more than sixty-two miles above Earth, which is widely considered to be the edge of outer space.
New Shepard's suborbital fights hit about 3 times the speed of sound — roughly 2,300 miles per hour — and fly directly upward until the rocket expends most of its fuel. The crew capsule will then separate from the rocket at the top of the trajectory and briefly continue upward before the capsule almost hovers at the top of its flight path, giving the passengers a few minutes of weightlessness.
This remarkable news comes just a week after British billionaire and Virgin founder, Richard Branson, blasted into outer space onboard his own Virgin Galactic rocket.
As Branson floated around in microgravity, he taped a message using cameras onboard the space plane: "To all you kids out there — I was once a child with a dream, looking up to the stars. Now I'm an adult in a spaceship... If we can do this, just imagine what you can do."
"To all you kids down there..." - @RichardBranson's message from zero gravity. #Unity22
Watch the livestream: https://t.co/5UalYT7Hjb pic.twitter.com/lYXHNsDQcU
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) July 11, 2021
Bezos' and Bransons' voyages have kick-started the so-called "Billionaire Space Race" that has been going on between the pair and fellow billionaire, Elon Musk.
While Bezos and Branson have now made it into outer space, Musk is still planning on making it to Mars onboard his very own SpaceX rocket. SpaceX has announced it will be launching an all-civilian mission into orbit by the end of the year, with the passengers actually orbiting around the planet for up to 4 days before returning to Earth, according to Sky News.
This is a developing story and updates will be posted accordingly.