The business magnate plans to exit our planet on July 20th of this year in New Shepard, a rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin. Bezos is taking along his younger brother on what he calls "the greatest adventure" of his lifetime.
Although the trip to the edge of low-earth orbit is set to last no more than eleven minutes, the maiden flight will serve to boost confidence in the nascent aerospace technology Blue Origin is actively developing. The capsule - which is expected to reach an altitude of roughly sixty miles before beginning its re-entry - will seat another four, yet-to be-named passengers who will accompany Jeff and his brother Mark on the space expedition.
Bezos, a self-made billionaire and founder of Amazon, is trying to position himself as a top contender in the private space race ignited by Elon Musk. Earlier this year, Bezos' Blue Origin lost the opportunity to share in NASA's lucrative contract to return humans to the Moon by 2024 to Musk's SpaceX, a controversial decision that prompted Bezos to launch a formal complaint against the US space agency.
Unfazed by this setback, Bezos continues his quest to launch mankind into space in order to not only fulfill his childhood dreams, but also to propel our species out of a potential demoralizing funk: I'm interested in space because I'm passionate about it. I've been studying it and thinking about it since I was a five year old boy — but that is not why I'm pursuing this work. I'm pursuing this work because I believe if we don't, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing.