The Hill reports:
That came after nearly 7,600 people from 159 countries had registered to bid on a seat for the July 20 space flight by the time registration closed Thursday, according to ABC News… Blue Origin said the $28 million would be donated to Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to “inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and to help invent the future of life in space,” according to its website…
Blue Origin said the fourth and final crew member of the mission will also be announced when the identity of the auction winner is revealed.
Today CNN ran a story headlined “Jeff Bezos is going to space for 11 minutes. Here’s how risky that is.” (Or how safe?)
They’ll be going up and coming right back down, and they’ll be doing it in less time — about 11 minutes — than it takes most people to get to work. Suborbital flights differ greatly from orbital flights of the type most of us think of when we think of spaceflight. Blue Origin’s New Shepard flights will be brief, up-and-down trips, though they will go more than 62 miles above Earth, which is widely considered to be the edge of outer space.
Orbital rockets need to drum up enough power to hit at least 17,000 miles per hour, or what’s known as orbital velocity, essentially giving a spacecraft enough energy to continue whipping around the Earth rather than being dragged immediately back down by gravity. Suborbital flights require far less power and speed. That means less time the rocket is required to burn, lower temperatures scorching the outside of the spacecraft, less force and compression ripping at the spacecraft, and generally fewer opportunities for something to go very wrong.
New Shepard’s suborbital fights hit about about three 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. It works sort of like an extended version of the weightlessness you experience when you reach the peak of a roller coaster hill, just before gravity brings your cart — or, in Bezos’ case, your space capsule — screaming back down toward the ground.
The New Shepard capsule then deploys a large plume of parachutes to slow its descent to less than 20 miles per hour before it hits the ground… Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule, which is fully autonomous and does not require a pilot, has never had an explosive mishap in 15 test flights. And the nature of Bezos’ flight means it comes with some inherently lower risks than more ambitious space travel attempts.
But that doesn’t mean the risk is zero, either.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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Author Of this post: EditorDavid