‘Not really nervous’: Billionaire Bezos girds for inaugural space flight

July 19 (Reuters) – American billionaire Jeff Bezos said on Monday he was excited and curious, but not very nervous, right before his company Blue Origin’s first suborbital flight with the oldest and youngest people ever to board All have flown.

The richest person in the world and three crew members are scheduled to fly aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard, a 18.3-meter-tall and fully autonomous rocket from a desert location in West Texas for an 11-minute journey to the edge of space. and capsule combination. The flight represents an important milestone in the establishment of the space tourism industry.

Bezos conducted a series of pre-launch televised interviews scheduled for about 8 a.m. CDT (1300 GMT) from Blue Origins Launch Location One, about 20 miles outside the rural town of Van Horn, Texas.

“People keep asking if I’m nervous. I’m not really nervous, I’m excited. I’m curious. I want to know what we’re going to learn. ”Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O)He told the program “CBS This Morning”.

“We have trained. This vehicle is ready. This crew is ready. This team is amazing,” said Bezos. “We just feel really good about it.”

Bezos and his brother Mark Bezos are supported in the civilian crew by the 82-year-old pioneer pilot Wally Funk and the 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, a recent high school graduate who will be studying physics and innovation management at Utrecht University in the Netherlands in September.

Daemen is the company’s first paying customer. His father runs the investment management firm Somerset Capital Partners.

The flight comes nine days after rival Richard Branson, the British billionaire, was on board his Virgin Galactic company’s rocket plane for his groundbreaking suborbital flight from New Mexico.

Bezos tried to downplay any rivalry with Branson.

“There is a person who was the first person in space. His name was Yuri Gagarin. And that happened a long time ago,” Bezos said on NBC’s “Today” program, referring to the Soviet cosmonaut who ins All came.

“I think I’ll be number 570 or something. That’s where we’ll be on this list. So this is not a competition. It’s about building a road into space so that future generations can do incredible things. “In space,” said Bezos.

Funk was one of the so-called Mercury 13 women who trained as astronauts for the first US space program in the early 1960s. She passed the same rigorous tests as the male Mercury Seven astronauts in NASA’s space program, although women were denied the chance to become astronauts because of their gender.

“When Wally was part of the Mercury 13, she outperformed all men in all the tests she ran,” Bezos told Today. “And we can confirm that at the age of 82 she can still surpass all men. We did the training with Wally.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Adaptation by Will Dunham

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