In the battle of billionaires with rocket companies, Jeff Bezos will finally beat Elon Musk.
Bezos, the founder of Amazon, said that he would take a trip to space next month when Blue Origin, the rocket company he founded more than two decades ago, conducts its first human spaceflight. Liftoff from the company’s test site east of El Paso in Van Horn, Texas, is scheduled for July 20.
“Ever since I was 5 years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos, 57, said on Instagram. He said his brother Mark would join him on the flight, allowing him to embark on “the greatest adventure, with my best friend.”
Bezos made the announcement in the middle of a busy year for human spaceflight. Blue Origin’s biggest competitors in private rocketry, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, have both announced a number of trips to carry a variety of individuals on launches or flights high above the planet, but neither as yet plans a passenger of such a high profile.
Bezos predicted that he would be a new man after his journey to space: “It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity,” he said.
The trip may bring some renewed attention to Blue Origin, which has taken a slower approach to the development of its vehicles than the other companies, and recently lost out to Musk’s company in a bid to build the next lander that would carry NASA astronauts back to the moon.
SpaceX has a couple of missions in the next 12 months that are to take private citizens to orbit. One is scheduled to launch in September and will carry Jared Isaacman, the billionaire founder of Shift4 Payments, and three other amateur astronauts, on a trip to orbit. A second, booked by the company Axiom Space, will carry three wealthy individuals and an astronaut working for the company to the International Space Station. Musk has said he would eventually want to go to Mars, but he has not announced any plans to go to space himself in the near future.
Richard Branson, another billionaire who founded Virgin Galactic, in 2004, has been anticipating for more than a decade a ride on Virgin’s long-delayed SpaceShipTwo suborbital space plane, which is a competitor of Blue Origin’s New Shepard.