Jeff Bezos founded his spaceflight company two decades ago, at the turn of the millennium. You may not have known that, because Blue Origin spent years developing its rocket technology in secret. But by now you’ve probably heard, because Bezos wants everyone to know: Blue Origin is sending passengers to space, and he’s going on the inaugural trip himself. He shared the news this week on Instagram, in a high-production video set to heartfelt music, with one dramatic, made-for-camera moment. Bezos, wearing a cowboy hat and aviators, drink in hand, smiles at his brother, Mark. “I really want you to come with me,” he says. “Are you serious?” Mark asks, eyes wide.
Their trip—what Bezos calls the “greatest adventure”—is scheduled for July on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, named in honor of Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space. The Bezos brothers will travel just beyond the edge of space, experience a few minutes of weightlessness, and then return to Earth in a parachute landing in the West Texas desert. In the short time from takeoff to touchdown, Bezos, the richest man in the world, would become the first person to fly on his own rocket to space.
But of course, Bezos is not the only space billionaire out there. Not to be outdone, Richard Branson is reportedly considering taking a ride on his spacecraft in July too, about two weeks before Bezos’s flight. Branson also founded his spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, in the early 2000s. Virgin’s space plane recently carried two pilots to the edge of space, and it’s ready to fly more. (Virgin Galactic, when asked ..