SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 3 August 2021, Tuesday |

Jeff Bezos, world’s richest man, set for inaugural space voyage

Amazon’s billionaire Jeff Bezos, is set on Tuesday to blast off aboard his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle for a suborbital flight as part of a history-making crew – another milestone in ushering in a new era of private space travel.

The American billionaire is due to fly from a desert site in West Texas on an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space, nine days after Briton Richard Branson was aboard his competing space tourism company Virgin Galactic’s successful inaugural suborbital flight from New Mexico.

Branson got to space first, but Bezos is due to fly higher – 62 miles (100 km) for Blue Origin compared to 53 miles (86 km) for Virgin Galactic – in what experts call the world’s first unpiloted space flight with an all-civilian crew.

Bezos, founder of ecommerce juggernaut Amazon.com Inc and his brother and private equity executive Mark Bezos will be joined in the flight by two others. Pioneering female aviator Wally Funk 82, and recent high school graduate Oliver Daemen, 18, are set to become the oldest and youngest people to reach space.

“I am excited, but not anxious. We’ll see how I feel when I’m strapped into my seat,” Bezos said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Monday. “… We’re ready. The vehicle’s ready. This team is amazing. I feel very good about it. And I think my fellow crewmates feel good about it, too.”