How to Watch Jeff Bezos as He Travels to Space
Whether you’re here to learn about history or passively observe the world’s richest man playing with toys, here’s how to tune in.
Consider YOURSELF AS HAVING INFINITE MONEY. Simply an unstoppable sum of money, with the power to buy anything and destabilize anything. Do you utilize it to help those throughout the world who are hungry? Do you take real, actionable measures to address the climate crisis? No, no, no. You’re going to the space! Or at least, if you’re Jeff Bezos, you do.
On Tuesday, Bezos’ Blue Origin will send a crew to the far reaches of the earth, comprising the former Amazon CEO, his slightly less well-known brother, a pioneering octogenarian pilot, and a young Dutch physics student. (WIRED’s Steven Levy will be live-blogging from the launch site, so stay tuned for his updates.)
Here are the actual details if you wish to watch:
The event will be broadcast live on Blue Origin’s website.
On July 20, the broadcast will begin at 7:30 a.m. Eastern standard time. The actual launch is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. ET, although there may be delays. (Of course, the time of any liftoff is subject to weather, the whims of random animals, or any number of technological snafus.) It’s risky to launch a rocket, and things might go wrong.)
The flight should take around 11 minutes. While there are hazards associated with combining people with space flight, experts anticipate that all will go successfully.
This is a historically significant occurrence. Only a few crewed commercial space flights have occurred, and this is Blue Origin’s first. (If you’re keeping track, Virgin has one more crewed flight under its belt.) Musk’s SpaceX has been launching people into orbit for some time, albeit none of them have been civilians.) The launch now holds the distinction of transporting both the youngest and the oldest person to ever fly to space, thanks to a last-minute scheduling adjustment. It’s especially exciting for Wally Funk, an 82-year-old passenger and former pilot who had previously been denied her longtime goal of flying to space.
This launch is clearly significant for Bezos as well. The millionaires were embroiled in a dude-bro spat, each anxious to make history as the first CEO of a space tourism company to jump into the stratosphere. With a spectacular voyage in his Virgin Galactic spacecraft, Branson declared victory last week. Bezos will compete for second place, though Blue Origin has been quick to point out that the definition of space is debatable. The Bezos gang’s parabolic flight will take them past the Kármán line — or 62 miles up, according to the US Department of Defense’s round number for the space boundary (the FAA uses a more lenient 50 miles, which is where Branson flew last week) — and keep them up there just long enough to tickle the abyss. There will almost certainly be enough time to guarantee that the cost of future visits appeals to the wealthy.
Of course, opponents have criticized these lofty goals, pointing out that all of the money that space millionaires avoid paying in taxes might be utilized to finance public resources like NASA. (You know, the one that’s been launching people into space for the past 60 years.) Or that Bezos has spent the previous two decades as the CEO of a firm that has had a negative influence on the environment and a tumultuous relationship with labor unions. When it’s focused on a person whose workers have to urinate in bottles while on the clock, the project loses some of its egalitarian “great leap for mankind” glitter.