On Tuesday, billionaire Jeff Bezos will blast into space as part of the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard.
He will be accompanied by his brother, Mark Bezos, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student, Oliver Daemen.
At 14:00 BST (15:00 CAT), the four passengers will lift off on the rocket, New Shepard, from Bezos’s private launch site near Van Horn, Texas.
The Bezos launch will be the latest salvo in what many have dubbed the “billionaire space race”. It follows nine days after Sir Richard Branson flew above Earth on his Virgin Galactic space plane.
Bezos and Branson have been on the receiving end of social media backlash and criticism with users arguing that the money they have spent on space travel, could have been used instead to tackle climate change or help the world recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Branson addressed the criticism, stating that, “”I can understand it, but I think maybe they’re not fully educated to what space does for Earth.”
He said that satellites were monitoring “the degradation of the rainforests, monitoring food distribution – even things like climate change,” adding: “We need more spaceships going up to space, we don’t need less.”
Sources: BBC, IBC
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