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Jeff Bezos is an Astronaut

On Tuesday, 20th July, I was invited to speak to the BBC 5 Live Drive show where I got to talk about the Blue Origin New Shepard launch.

The radio interview took place a couple of hours after watching the launch live on YouTube. You can hear back the interview with the time stamp from approx 2 hours and 6 minutes on the link below.

This is much more than the world’s richest man becoming an astronaut this was the first Blue Origin operational and commercial flight for New Shepard.

It also means that in our lifetime the prospect of affordability of accessing space is now a reality. This is a historic milestone in our space future and access to that view of the atmosphere and that overview effect that pangs at my heartstrings so much. We should all be able to access that view and understand the frailty of our beautiful planet. This launch and that of Virgin Galactic a few weeks ago make this more tangible now than at any other time in our history.

The New Shepard launch coincided with the 52nd year since the original Apollo moon landing it’s also the day that Wally Funk became the oldest person (at 82 solar rotations) ever to go into space, on board the New Shepard rocket. The previous record-holder, John Glenn, flew in the Space Shuttle in 1998 when he was 77.

Wally Funk as she emerged from the New Shepard Capsule upon landing, her energy was electric.

The other passengers were Bezos’s brother Mark and Dutch 18-year-old, Oliver Daemen, who became the youngest person ever to go to space after being selected when the anonymous person who bid $28 million for a seat on the space flight pulled out due to “scheduling conflicts.”

Mark Bezos and Jeff Bezos with the googles that Amelia Mary Earhart wore. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Environmental Factors

On the radio, I was asked about how clean this rocket launch was and I stated that the New Shepard booster rocket burned a mix of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Its exhaust was a trail of water vapour with no carbon emissions, which are among the biggest contributing factors in global warming. So for now Blue Origin is iterating and scaling a vision that is much more than just trips off Earth. I know this as a fact in hearing from key members of the team at various conferences over the past few years. So watch this space, this is the beginning for us all.



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Anushka Sharma

Anushka Sharma


Founder, Naaut 🚀 [ innovation * frontier technology * execution ]