SPEED + BEYOND

BEZOS' NEW SHEPARD IS SUCCESSFUL TO SPACE: THE SPACE TOURISM COMPETITION BEGINS

Jeff Bezos made it to space, a week after Richard Branson's success with Virgin Galactic.

24.07.2021
BY A. NUGROHO
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The past few weeks, we've been presented with advances in space tourism when billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos managed to fly to the limits of space. This makes the historical record of space exploration that was once limited to researchers and astronauts to be open to anyone. Of course, with significant funds instead.


As the latest historical recorder, Jeff Bezos managed to fly with the New Shepard rocket from the Site One launch center near Van Horn, Texas. This flight is claimed to be the first human flight, although, for New Shepard, it is the 16th flight.


The New Shepard spacecraft will fly and reach its highest point in 11 minutes. Apart from Bezos, the flight had three other passengers and no pilot because the New Shepard was controlled automatically. The other three passengers were Mark Bezos, Jeff's younger brother, and a non-profit executive.


Another crew is Wally Funk, an 82-year-old former NASA astronaut who was the first woman to be prepared for space as a youth. Lastly is Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old who is the son of the second auction winner, Joes Daemen. Daemen was the last crew to come to replace the winning bidder for New Shepard's seats, which sold for $28 million because they "had other schedules than flying into space".

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Blue Origin (@blueorigin)


The name New Shepard rocket is a tribute to Mercury program astronaut Alan Shepard. He became the first American astronaut to go into space in 1962. The rocket had already been tested 15 times before its maiden flight with passengers.


The 18-meter high rocket is designed to carry passengers into suborbital space, where they will experience a three-minute weightlessness experience. After reaching the intended point, or about 80 kilometers in space, the rocket will return to earth automatically using a fin device to balance and, of course, a parachute.


The New Shepard rocket can accommodate up to six passengers. The idea in the future is that apart from ordinary citizens, aviation can also be filled by researchers and astronauts who want to research something in a vacuum.


Just like astronauts, this flight into space is not without risks. Before flying, the passengers received training to withstand the force of gravity, especially during takeoff and landing, which can reach 5G, as well as training to use spacesuits. In addition, upon departure, New Shepard passengers must take off, about seven levels, in less than 90 seconds and can immediately get out of the rocket if in an emergency before taking off in less than 15 seconds. Sounds troublesome.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Blue Origin (@blueorigin)


Blue Origin also boasted a bit of their rocket design with large windows so that space tourists can enjoy precious moments in space. Something that is actually also offered by Virgin Galactic through its spacecraft.


The success of New Shepard in carrying out its maiden flight with passengers into space made the race for space exploration begin. There's Bezos' Blue Origin and Branson's Virgin Galactic, but what's the difference?


Most clearly seen is the shape of the spacecraft and the way it reaches space. Virgin Galactic uses carrying the aircraft to a certain height and then releasing it to get the intended altitude. The shape also resembles an airplane with a futuristic design.


New Shepard from Blue Origin goes the traditional way with a rocket launched from a grounded ground. This is why Blue Origin calls their achievement the first human flight because it flies passengers directly to their destination.


Although these two companies use different methods, their goal is relatively the same, namely reaching a certain height in the earth's atmosphere to feel weightlessness and see the earth from space.


The competition between these two companies will continue. Blue Origin is already planning its next flight with six passengers by the end of the year. For those interested, these two companies provide ticket prices that are quite a drain on savings. Blue Origin has yet to announce their ticket prices, while Virgin Galactic has revealed their flight tickets are around $250,000.

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