Amazon founder Jeff Bezos wished billionaire Richard Branson a “successful and safe flight” for his journey into space that would take place today. Mr. Branson’s journey comes just nine days before Mr. Bezos’ own flight into space with his brother.
Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, will fly to space aboard the VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane. The spacecraft will fly to an altitude of 55 miles (about 88.51 km), after which the pilots will turn off the engines, allowing it to float for 5 minutes. In those few minutes, the crew members feel weightless. Through the windows of the spaceship, passengers can see the curvature of the Earth.
In an Instagram post, Mr. Bezos wished Mr. Branson and “all the team a successful and safe flight”.
The Virgin Galactic website also includes a timer set to mark the “launch of a new space age.” It quotes Mr. Branson as saying, “We are at the forefront of a new industry determined to be the pioneers of twenty-first century spacecraft, which will open up space for everyone — and change the world for good.”
About the experience, the website says the “spaceship and mothership” will “climb together to just below 50,000 feet,” after which the pilot will free the spaceship from the mothership. “The spaceship’s rocket ignites, sending the spacecraft into space just over Mach 3. The colors outside the window will change from blue to indigo to midnight black when you reach space and the rocket engine shuts down,” adds the description. to the website.
Then the passengers can “see home (Earth) for the first time” through the spaceship’s 17 windows. In the cabin, 16 cameras will record “every moment of the experience in HD”.
On today’s spaceflight, Mr. Branson will be joined by Dave Mackay, chief pilot, Michael Masucci, pilot, Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs and research operations, Colin Bennett, chief operations technician, and Beth Moses, chief astronaut instructor.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 10, 2021
Also, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, wished Branson for the trip, saying, “See you there,” implying he could be present at the launch.
See you there to wish you the best
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2021
Last month, in an Instagram post, Bezos shared a clip in which he told his followers why he decided to fly to space. “Since I was five years old, I have dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend.” He also posted the hashtag “GradatimFerociter” — Blue Origin’s motto, which means “step by step, ferocious.”
Mr Branson had founded Virgin Galactic in 2004. He had previously crossed the Pacific Ocean in a hot air balloon. The 70-year-old had also been kitesurfing across the English Channel.
On the other hand, Mr. Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000. His New Shepard will be launched on 20th July. It is estimated that it will reach the Karman line – the recognized boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space – at 100 km sea level. Then it descends back to Earth within 10 minutes.