“Not really nervous”: billionaire Bezos prepares for maiden flight in space
July 19 (Reuters) – Billionaire US businessman Jeff Bezos said on Monday he was excited and curious but not very nervous on the eve of taking part in his company’s inaugural suborbital flight Blue Origin alongside the most older and younger ever intended for space.
The richest person in the world and three teammates are set to fly from a desert site in West Texas for an 11-minute trip to the edge of space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard, an 18-inch rocket. , 3 meters high and fully autonomous. and-capsule combo. The flight represents an important milestone in the establishment of the space tourism industry.
Bezos conducted a series of pre-launch TV interviews scheduled for around 8:00 a.m. CDT (1:00 p.m. GMT) from the facilities at Blue Origin’s launch site One, approximately 20 miles from the rural town of Van Horn, TX.
“People keep asking me if I’m nervous. I’m not really nervous, I’m excited. I’m curious. I want to know what we’re going to learn,” said Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN .O), told the show “CBS This Morning”.
“We’ve been training. This vehicle is ready. This team is ready. This team is amazing,” said Bezos. “We feel really good about it.”
Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos will be joined in the all-civilian crew by 82-year-old pioneer aviator Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, a recent high school graduate who is expected to attend Utrecht University in the Netherlands. to study physics and innovation management in September.
Daemen is the company’s first paying customer. His father runs the Somerset Capital Partners investment management firm.
The theft comes nine days after his rival Richard Branson, the British billionaire businessman, was aboard his company Virgin Galactic’s rocket plane for its pioneering suborbital flight from New Mexico.
Bezos has sought to play down any rivalry with Branson.
“There is one person who was the first person in space. His name was Yuri Gagarin. And that happened a long time ago,” Bezos said on NBC’s ‘Today’ show. , referring to the Soviet cosmonaut who reached space in 1961.
“I think I’m going to be number 570 or something. That’s where we’re going to be in this list. So it’s not a competition. It’s about building a road to space so that future generations can do amazing things in space, ”Bezos said.
Funk was part of a group of women called Mercury 13 who trained to be astronauts for America’s first manned space flight program in the early 1960s. She passed the same rigorous tests as the male Mercury Seven astronauts in the program. space, although women were denied the opportunity to become astronauts because of their gender.
“Back when Wally was in the Mercury 13, all the tests she did, she outperformed all men,” Bezos said in “Today”. “And we can confirm that at 82 she can still outperform all men. We trained with Wally. She can outperform all of us.
Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Will Dunham
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