Love him or hate him, former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is going to space, and you can watch it happen.
Bezos blasts off on July 20 at approximately 9 a.m. EDT (6 a.m. PDT), with coverage starting at 7:30 a.m. EDT (4:30 a.m. PDT) here on Live Science or on BlueOrigin.com. He will ride aboard Blue Origin's first human flight of its New Shepard rocket, which is launching from a remote site in West Texas. Online streaming will be the only way to watch the launch, according to Blue Origin; there is no in-person public viewing of the launch site available.
The flight will be the 16th launch of the New Shepard rocket, which is Blue Origin's reusable suborbital vehicle. The rocket is designed to take items, astronauts and space tourists over 62 miles (100 kilometers) up past the so-called Kármán line, the internationally recognized definition of the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space.
The capsule on New Shepard can hold up to six people, tucked into reclined seats next to large, rectangular windows. Accompanying Bezos will be his brother Mark Bezos and Wally Funk, 82, the first female Federal Aviation Administration inspector and the youngest graduate of the 1960s Women in Space program. This private program put female pilots through the same training and tests as male astronauts in the Project Mercury program, but none of the pilots were ever given the chance to go to space. NASA wouldn't send a woman into space until nearly 20 years later, when Sally Ride became the first American woman to do so.
Eighteen-year-old Oliver Daemen, winner of an auction for a seat on the flight, will also be a passenger on the spacecraft. Daemen is the son of hedge fund manager Joes Daemen. The Daemens were originally runners-up in the auction for the first paying Blue Origin ticket, which went for $28 million. The anonymous winner, however, backed out on July 15, citing scheduling conflicts. Blue Origin did not disclose how much the Daemens bid for the ticket. Blue Origin has not yet set a price for the privilege of reaching space, though part of the company's mission is to make space tourism a reality.
Bezos' launch comes just over a week after another billionaire, Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson, got his astronaut wings. Branson reached 53 miles (85 km) in his company's first crewed launch of the VSS Unity spacecraft on July 11. (The United States considers a flight of anything above 50 miles, or 80 km, to be worthy of the U.S. Astronaut Badge.) Competing private spaceflight firm SpaceX, headed by billionaire Elon Musk, completed its first crewed flight of its Crew Dragon capsule in May 2020, and has sent missions to the International Space Station.
As well as fulfilling a dream for Bezos, the flight will break the records for the oldest and youngest people in space. Funk will top astronaut John Glenn's record of visiting space at age 77, set in 1998 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Daemen will beat the record of Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titov, who orbited Earth at age 25 in the spacecraft Vostok 2, in 1961.
Originally published on Live Science.