FAA approves Blue Origin launch with Bezos, others aboard

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has officially approved Jeff Bezos’s highly anticipated spaceflight next week aboard a rocket developed by his aerospace company, Blue Origin. 

The license, which was approved by the FAA on Monday and is valid through August, comes as Bezos, along with his brother and two others, are scheduled to launch into space next Tuesday on the New Shepard rocket. 

The flight is part of an effort by billionaire-owned technology and transportation companies to make space flight a commercially available experience. 

On Sunday, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson beat Bezos by becoming the first billionaire to successfully launch into space, landing back on Earth following a 90-minute trip with two pilots and three mission specialists. 

Branson said in remarks upon landing, “I think like most kids I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid, but honestly nothing could prepare you for the view of Earth from space.” 

“I’m just taking it all in. It’s just unreal,” he added. 

When the New Shepard flies off from West Texas next week, Bezos and his brother will be joined by Wally Funk, an 82-year-old woman who completed astronaut training in 1961 as a member of the “Mercury 13” Woman in Space Program. 

However, the program was ultimately cut before Funk was able to participate in a mission.

An unnamed person who made the winning $28 million bid at a charity auction last month will also be aboard the spacecraft. 

According to The Associated Press, the Blue Origin spacecraft should reach a maximum altitude of about 66 miles before landing back down in the desert. 

Branson’s flight on Sunday reached a height of 53.5 miles, above the 50-mile threshold recognized by the FAA as the edge of space. 

The Virgin Galactic flight on Sunday marked the fourth crewed mission for the company, though Blue Origin’s flight next week will be its first with passengers on board. 

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is also working to develop commercial spacecraft, with a goal for customers not only to reach space, but also be placed into orbit above the Earth.

Musk has not yet indicated if he intends to follow Branson and Bezos by participating in a space launch himself. 

Tags blue origin commercial space flight Elon Musk Federal Aviation Administration Jeff Bezos SpaceX Texas The Associated Press VIRGIN GALACTIC
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