Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Monday he will fly in the first human spacecraft of his company’s New Shepard spacecraft. The mission will launch from Blue Origin’s spacecraft in West Texas on July 20, the anniversary of Apollo 11’s 1969 lunar landing.
With this timeline, Bezos is almost certain to beat his suborbital space travel rival, Sir Richard Branson, into space, Branson’s VSS . unity The vehicle reached space—the highest altitude was below the Kármán line, or 100 km—however. It is a meaningful milestone.
Both Bezos and Branson have been investing in the space industry for about two decades. And the two have made it clear that they intend to fly their own spaceships as soon as possible.
for Branson That flight is expected to arrive in the second half of this year. A week ago Sirisha Bandla, Branson’s vice president of government affairs for Virgin Galactic, told Ars that the company’s next plan calls for a test flight with four employees in the cabin. She added that the test would be followed by a flight carrying Branson.
“We have three test flights left,” Bandla said. “We have flights with cabin crew. After a flight with our founder Sir Richard Branson Then complete our test flight. We are flying by the Italian Air Force.”
However, the Bezos spacecraft scheduled for July 20 may have hijacked those plans, according to Doug Messier on his Parabolic Arc website, “Virgin Galactic is currently working on plans to send Branson to a suborbital flight on the VSS. unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane over the July 4th holiday weekend”
This will defeat Bezos in a couple of weeks.
The report seems plausible, Messier, a space correspondent in Mojave. california Long criticized Virgin Galactic’s operations. And of course, he has a disgusted view of the company’s business opportunities. However, since Messier is based where Virgin Galactic was founded and operated more than a decade He therefore has no credible source of information. And with Branson’s penchant for acting and willingness to take risks, This report could be true.
Ars and other media have asked Virgin Galactic to respond to Messier’s report on Tuesday. And the company responded to the unanswered answer. “We are in the process of analyzing data from our successful flight on May 22,” the company statement said. “As previously announced We expect to complete test flights this summer through early fall, at this time we have not yet set a date for our next flight.”
Everything in the statement is true. Messier—and the company probably wanted nothing more than to knock down journalists criticizing Branson and his space efforts—Virgin Galactic’s communications team chose not to.
in the past few years Especially after a fatal crash with a prototype plane in 2014, Virgin Galactic has said it won’t fly until its vehicle is ready. Moreover, the plan is to fly the Virgin staff on the next mission.
“We must hope that Whatever Virgin Galactic’s previous plans and schedules, things won’t be rushed to secure the right to brag about who goes first,” writes Alan Ladwig. See you in orbit?A book on human space tourism tells Ars, “The speculations about the pre-Bezos aviation seemed rushed. Hopefully safety will remain a top priority and won’t pull the trigger too quickly.”
Virgin Galactic is rushing here? It’s possible that if the May 22 flight went well. (and seems to have) VSS unity The spacecraft and carrier will be ready again in early July. Just two months have passed between VSS’s first (December 13, 2018) and second (February 22, 2019) space flights. unityThis time, recovery will be around 1.5 months. According to Messier, in the Branson flight, Virgin Galactic is also required to obtain a commercially reusable spacecraft operator license from the Federal Aviation Administration.
So to get Branson into space Maybe it’s just a little juggling. some documents and moderate acceleration work on vehicles perhaps.