Jeff Bezos ‘having a dig’ at Richard Branson says expert
The billionaire will today blast off into space in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard. Mark Bezos, his brother, will accompany him, along with Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student. They will travel in a capsule with the biggest windows flown into space – giving breathtaking views of the Earth from above.
New Shepard is built by Mr Bezos’ company Blue Origin.
It is intended to compete with the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Intergalactic.
The biggest driver for Mr Bezos is to put humans into space – a lot of them.
He says doing this will improve our civilisation dramatically, littering the Solar System with geniuses.
Jeff Bezos: The billionaire will today venture into space for the first time
Blue Origin: The launch site in West Texas
In 2019, he set out his vision for the future of humanity while speaking at New York’s Yale Club.
He said: “The solar system can support a trillion humans, and then we’d have 1,000 Mozarts, and 1,000 Einsteins.
“Think how incredible and dynamic that civilisation will be.”
Yet, the entrepreneur, worth £150billion, admitted “we don’t have forever”.
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This is why Blue Origin is working on a “low-cost, highly operable, reusable launch vehicle”.
Mr Bezos: “I really want that dynamic life and civilisation for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
“But we’ve got to get started.”
He drew attention to Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg, and how he devised the idea and product on a low-scale budget in a no frills environment.
He said: “Here’s a guy who literally, in his dorm room, started a company — Mark Zuckerberg started a company in his dorm room, which is now worth half a trillion dollars — less than two decades ago.
“How do you get that kind of entrepreneurial [advancement] in space? You need to lower the price of admission right now to do anything interesting in space because it requires so much heavy lifting and so much infrastructure development.
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“The entry price point for doing interesting things is hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Nobody is going to do that in their dorm room. You can’t have a Mark Zuckerberg of space today.
“It’s impossible. Two kids in their dorm room can’t start anything important in space today.
“I want to take the assets that I have from Amazon and translate that into the heavy-lifting infrastructure that will [help] the next generation to have dynamic entrepreneurialism in space — kind of build that transportation network.
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“That’s what’s going on, that’s what Blue Origin’s mission is.
“If we can do that, then the whole thing will take off and there will be thousands of companies doing creative things.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with CBS News ahead of Tuesday’s launch, Mr Bezos said he wasn’t nervous about going into space, but “curious”.
He said: “I want to know what we’re going to learn.
“We’ve been training. This vehicle’s ready, this crew is ready, this team is amazing. We just feel really good about it.”
Wally Funk: The space pioneer took part in space tests in the Sixties but never got the chance to go
Ms Funk, the space pioneer, was a member of a group of women called Mercury 13 who in the Sixties underwent the same screening tests as male astronauts, but who never got to fly into space.
She said: “It’s going to happen! I’ve waited a long time and I’ve dreamed a long time to get to go up.”
She added that she would carry out somersaults and tumbles while weightless in space.v