Blue Origin reveals Jeff Bezos flight details
Blue Origin on Monday revealed details of the company's first flight into space with astronauts onboard just one day after Richard Branson successfully completed a test flight into space with Virgin Galactic.
According to Blue Origin, the live broadcast of New Shepard's 16th flight into space will kick off on BlueOrigin.com at 6:30 a.m. CDT on July 20. Liftoff is targeted for 8 a.m. CDT, a Blue Origin spokesperson confirmed.
Bezos' July 20 launch date marks the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He assigned himself to the flight just a month ago and asked his brother, Mark, to join him.
Accompanying both brothers on the mission will be a $28 million auction winner and Wally Funk, one of the last surviving members of the Mercury 13 who was chosen as his "honored guest." The 13 female pilots passed the same tests as NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts in the early 1960s, but were barred from the corps – and spaceflight – because they were women.
The launch site will be in a remote location within the West Texas desert and will not have any on-site public viewing areas, the spokesperson said. Additionally, the Texas Department of Transportation will shut down portions of State Highway 54 to prevent spectators from getting too close to the launch site, according to the spokesperson.
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However, there's still one major issue. The FAA has not officially approved Blue Origin's application to launch crew or space flight participants, which refer to any individual who is not crew and is carried aboard a launch vehicle or reentry vehicle into space.
The FAA confirmed to FOX Business that the agency is still reviewing Blue Origin’s application to modify its existing license to allow for crew and space flight participants.
"As for all license application reviews, the FAA will make a decision when and if all regulatory requirements are met," an FAA spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement.
Branson hurtled into space aboard his own winged rocket ship Sunday alongside five crewmates, just nine days ahead of Bezos' planned launch. The rocket from Branson's Virgin Galactic space-tourism company, which reached an altitude of 53.5 miles over the New Mexico desert, was a major step in bringing Astro-tourism closer to reality.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.