Remember the time when the only way non-astronauts could see space was through movies, telescopes, and documentaries? Flying into the vast expanse of unknown seemed like a far-fetched idea. Thanks to the endless upgrades in technology, a lot has changed since then.
Today’s mantra is - if you can dream it, you can achieve it. And, of course, if you have a loaded bank balance, it works like a cherry on the cake!
Living that very mantra, the world's richest man Jeff Bezos, recently flew to the edge of space. Along with a very small group of people, he got a once in a lifetime opportunity to be launched into space and gaze at the Earth from above. Sigh! If only each one of us had a couple of billion dollars to splash!
A trip to space
Bezos took off early Tuesday morning (July 20, 2021) afield a new Shepard rocket designed and crafted by Blue Origin, a spaceflight company he founded in the year 2000. Though the vehicle had taken off in an unmanned state 15 times earlier, its first flight with passengers was on board. The company aims to fly many more passenger flights in the future but has yet to open bookings.
Accompanying Jeff on the mission were three other members - his brother Mark Bezoz, 18-year old Dutch graduate student Oliver Daemen, and 82-year old aviator Wally Funk who was trained to go to space in the 1960s but was turned down at the last minute since she was a woman.
The group took off at 9:12 a.m. ET from a launchpad in Texas. The engines roared to life and the space vehicle upheaved itself from the ground, squealing through the atmosphere for about three minutes. Bezos and his companions had only about three minutes (tops) to levitate around, being all weightless in a capsule and admire the beauty of the Earth from afar before gravity started to pull them down. The entire experience lasted for about 11 minutes and was completely autonomous.
Bezos's most important work
Bezos counts Blue Origin among his most essential and heart-touching works, which explains why he stepped down from the position of Amazon's CEO just weeks before the launch. His aim is to make people witness this surreal experience and use New Shepard (the space vehicle) to finance more aspiring projects that would make way for human establishments in space.
He believes in order to steer clear of natural limits, we must expand our horizons. Humanity should lay more grounds and spread off its home planet, or else human civilization will stop evolving due to limited resources.
Word of acknowledgment
Ariane Cornell, astronaut-sales director at Blue Origin, stated that this launch illustrates a number of firsts. It's an incredibly proud moment for the company since this was the very first time a privately financed spaceflight has lifted private passengers off a private launch site. It's the first step and opens opportunities for millions of dreams to come true.