The New Shepard spacecraft, built by the company Blue Origin, is due to take off this Tuesday at 3 p.m. French time from an isolated site in the Western Desert of Texas. Alongside Jeff Bezos on this fully autonomous flight were his brother, Mark, as well as aviation pioneer Wally Funk, 82, and Blue Origin’s first customer, an 18-year-old Dutchman named Oliver Daemen, who would become the oldest and youngest astronaut respectively in history.
New Shepard will accelerate through space at speeds exceeding Mach 3 using an engine running on liquid hydrogen and oxygen, without carbon emissions. The capsule will then separate from its thruster and the neo-astronauts can unbuckle their belts to experience weightlessness. The crew will spend a few minutes at an altitude of 106 km, or 6 km beyond the Karman line, the internationally recognized limit between Earth’s atmosphere and space.