Jeff Bezos is trusting Blue Origin’s new rocket with his life. It’s flown 15 times, but he’ll have no pilot and possibly no spacesuit.

Jeff Bezos is seen speaking beside a photo of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket lifting off.
Jeff Bezos (left) is set to launch aboard the New Shepard rocket (right) on July 20.

Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, and two unnamed people – at least one of whom is a multimillionaire – are about to place their lives in the hands of Blue Origin’s rocket engineers.

Bezos, who founded the company in 2000, announced on Monday that he and his brother would be the first passengers on its New Shepherd rocket, along with the highest bidder for the third seat. The as yet unnamed winner of that auction bid $28 million on Saturday to go on the trip. (The money will go to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future.) A fourth person will join them as well.

The group will strap into a capsule on the top of the five-story rocket as early as July 20.

“Bezos is a risk-taker,” John Logsdon, the founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider. “He certainly understands that there are risks involved, and probably has a good handle on how risky it is.”

For the rest of us – who don’t have access to Blue Origin’s rocket design or risk calculations – it’s difficult to say just how much risk Bezos is taking. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. But a few key factors offer clues.

New Shepard has flown successfully before – 15 times – but never with humans onboard. The rocket has a good test-flight record, and it features an emergency system that can jettison the passenger capsule away from a failing rocket. Plus, the whole trip is only 11 minutes long.

At the same time, however, Bezos will fly with no pilot, and probably no spacesuit. And no matter how safe New Shepard is, spaceflight is always risky. About 1% of US human spaceflights have resulted in a fatal accident, according to an analysis published earlier this year.

“That’s pretty high. It’s about 10,000 times more dangerous than flying on a commercial airliner,” George Nield, a co-author of that report, told Insider. Nield formerly served as the Federal Aviation Administration’s associate administrator and led its Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

“In order to learn how to do this safer, more reliably, and more cost effectively, many people believe we need to keep gaining experience by having more and more of these flights,” he added. “[Bezos] obviously has made the decision that having millions of people living and working in space is something that he strongly believes in, and he wants to do his part to help make that happen in some small way.”

Skimming the very edge of space lowers the risk

jeff bezos inside new shepard crew capsule
Jeff Bezos inside a New Shepard Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 5, 2017.

If all goes according to plan on the day of Bezos’ flight, here’s what it’ll look like: The New Shepard rocket will fire its engines, spewing flame and smoke across the plains of West Texas. As it screams through the atmosphere, the force of the climb and the pull of Earth’s gravity – which will feel three times stronger than normal – will pin the Bezos brothers and their guests into their seats.

After three minutes, the rocket should separate from the capsule and fall back to Earth. The passengers will feel weightless as they clear the boundary of space.

The view from space on New Shepard's 15th flight, April 14, 2021.
The view from space on New Shepard’s 15th flight, April 14, 2021.

Bezos and his companions will have just three minutes in space. During that time, they can unbuckle and float around the cabin, drifting from one window to another to savor the views of Earth on one side of the spaceship and the blackness of space on the other.

As gravity takes hold again and the spaceship begins to fall back to Earth, Bezos and his co-passengers will strap in for a high-speed plunge. They will likely feel a significant jerk as three parachutes balloon into the air to brake the spaceship’s fall.

The New Shepard crew capsule parachutes to a landing at Blue Origin's Launch Site One in Texas on January 14.
The New Shepard crew capsule parachutes to a landing at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in Texas, January 14, 2021.

The parachutes should carry the capsule to a gentle landing in the Texas desert, where a recovery crew will be waiting.

This type of flight is referred to as suborbital, since the capsule won’t enter orbit around Earth. Blue Origin designed and built New Shepard specifically to carry high-paying customers to the edge of space. The rocket is too small, and its engines don’t have enough thrust, to push itself into orbit.

But keeping the flight short and suborbital comes with pluses: There’s less chance that something will go wrong, and the vehicle is easier to control because its engines are smaller and the rocket is traveling slower than would be needed to reach orbit.

If Bezos’ flight goes well, the new launch system could look more attractive to future space tourists.

New Shepard is thoroughly tested and has an emergency-escape system

Blue Origin's reusable New Shepard suborbital rocket launches toward space in 2016.
Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard suborbital rocket launches toward space in 2016.

The most nail-biting parts of this spaceflight will probably be when the engines burn for liftoff, when the rocket separates from the capsule, and when the parachutes deploy.

“You have a high-performance piece of machinery in the rocket engine that could break, come apart, do bad things,” Logsdon said.

New Shepard has executed all these maneuvers many times before – just not with people on board. It’s flown 15 times since 2015, with three successful tests of its emergency-escape system, which would jettison the capsule away from a failing rocket.

If a parachute fails to deploy, the capsule is designed to give more thrust to its downward-facing engines to help it land safely. If two chutes fail, a crushable “bumper” section on the bottom of the capsule should absorb the impact of landing.

“The capsule is the most highly redundant and safe spaceflight system, we think, that has ever been designed or flown,” Gary Lai, senior director of New Shepard’s design, said in a Blue Origin video about safety, posted online in April. “In most cases, you have a backup to the backup system.”

Logsdon described the New Shepard testing process as “very thorough” and “slow-paced.” He pointed out that the Space Shuttle’s very first flight had humans on board.

“Compared to the Space Shuttle Program, this is a far less risky undertaking,” Logsdon said.

Flying without spacesuits could add risk, but it may be safer if someone vomits

Ever since the Challenger disaster in 1986 – when the Space Shuttle broke apart during launch, killing all seven crew members – all NASA astronauts have worn pressurized spacesuits for launch and landing.

new shepard space capsule interior blue origin 03
A sneak peek at the final design of Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule for suborbital space tourists.

Spacesuits would not have saved those aboard Challenger, but they could save lives if a space capsule experiences a cabin leak yet remains intact.

Blue Origin’s website, however, indicates that New Shepard passengers will wear only a jumpsuit – not a pressurized spacesuit and helmet. According to CNN, there are oxygen masks in the capsule, much like on an airplane, in case the cabin becomes depressurized. The company hasn’t specified what Bezos or his companions will wear, however.

Both Nield and Logsdon said the chance of a cabin leak is very small. So the decision to wear a spacesuit or not depends mostly on the design of the capsule. If it has especially thick skin and strong windows, and if its systems can accommodate hiccups and technical errors without endangering the passengers, then flying without a spacesuit could be safe.

When it comes to flying tourists, it may even be better to skip the spacesuit, since first-time fliers often throw up during launch or landing.

“Especially if you are not a trained and experienced astronaut, wearing a spacesuit could be riskier if you got sick,” Nield said.

If you weren’t sufficiently trained to operate the spacesuit, you could choke on your own vomit.

A fully automated flight with no pilots isn’t necessarily a safety issue

blue origin new shepard crew capsule interior mockup
An interior view of Blue Origin’s Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 5, 2017.

New Shepard conducts its flights autonomously.

“Its design does not allow anybody to do much flying,” Logsdon said.

That’s not necessarily more risky than a rocket that requires a pilot, as long as the passengers are properly trained on what to do in an emergency.

Still, this fully automated launch system is relatively new, and lots of things can go wrong during early flights. Rocket failures can often be traced back to small errors across all kinds of hardware and software. It is rocket science, after all.

“Until we get lots of experience, like we’ve had with millions of airplane flights over the years, then there’s going to be some learning involved. And we’re going to get some surprises along the way. And there’s going to be some more accidents or incidents in future years,” Nield said. “With cars and boats and planes and trains, people die every year. And spaceflight is not going to be any different when it comes to that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The bidding to blast into space with Jeff Bezos on a Blue Origin rocket will start at $4.8 million

Jeff Bezos is seen speaking beside a photo of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket lifting off.
Jeff Bezos (left) is set to launch aboard the New Shepard rocket (right) on July 20.

  • Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is auctioning a seat on its New Shepard space flight on July 20.
  • The live auction will take place on Saturday, and pre-auction bidding has closed at $4.8 million.
  • Bezos will be on the flight alongside the auction winner.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bidding for a seat alongside Jeff Bezos onboard New Shepard, the Blue Origin rocket due to blast off on July 20, has officially closed ahead of a live auction on Saturday.

The highest bid at the closing of registration on Thursday was $4.8 million, according to Blue Origin’s website. The live auction will take place on Saturday, June 12, at 12:45 p.m. EDT.

Jeff Bezos, who owns Blue Origin, announced on Monday he would be on the first human flight of New Shepard along with his brother. Pre-auction bidding has been open since May, and before Bezos’ announcement the highest bid was $2.8 million.

Read more: An ex-engineer from Jeff Bezos’ space company has raised $650 million for his rocket-printing startup above a $4 billion valuation

The flight will last just 11 minutes, taking the passengers to the edge of space. Bezos and the other passengers will be weightless and able to float about the cabin for roughly three minutes, as reported by Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen.

New Shepard can carry six people, but so far only Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and the auction winner have been confirmed as passengers.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Unconfirmed report suggests Branson may try to beat Bezos into space – and Virgin Galactic didn’t deny it

jeff bezos richard branson thumb 4x3
Jeff Bezos (left) and Richard Branson (right) may be in a very tight space race.

The billionaire space race appears to be in full swing, and it’s getting close. Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson may both have the edge of space in their sights next month.

Bezos announced on Monday that he plans to fly into space aboard the New Shepard rocket developed by Blue Origin, the aerospace company he founded in 2000. The launch is set for July 20.

The following day, a report from Douglas Messier, who runs the longtime space blog Parabolic Arc, indicated that Virgin Galactic may be racing to launch its own founder, Branson, before Bezos. A “source who requested anonymity” told Messier that the company plans to fly Branson on a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo rocket plane over the July 4 weekend. That would poise Branson to beat Bezos to space by a narrow two weeks.

According to Messier’s source, the company began making those plans in response to Blue Origin setting the date for its first crewed flight. Blue Origin made that announcement on May 5 – long before Bezos shared that he would be on board.

Insider was not able to independently confirm Messier’s report. But in a statement to Insider, a spokesperson for Virgin Galactic did not deny the report’s claims.

“At this time, we have not determined the date of our next flight,” the spokesperson said.

Branson’s flight is “expected in the summer months,” the spokesperson added, as is a separate test flight with four “mission specialists” – employees playing the role of future passengers.

Virgin Galactic has previously stated that the mission specialists would fly before Branson. But as of Wednesday, the spokesperson did not respond to a question about which of the two flights would come first.

“One could easily imagine just sort of swapping the flights, or having Richard Branson fly in one of those four seats, just as a test subject, if you will,” George Nield, a former associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, where he led its Office of Commercial Space Transportation, told Insider.

Branson has “been in some pretty risky things in his career,” Nield added. “And he obviously believes in this program. If he’s comfortable that everything’s good and is willing to go himself, then more power to him.”

“It’s kind of amusing, these billionaires entertaining themselves by being on the first flights of their vehicles,” John Logsdon, the founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider. “Starship is supposed to do an orbital test, too. Is Elon [Musk] going to take the bait and fly on that?”

Launching Branson by July 4 is ‘very doable’

Virgin Galactic
A SpaceShipTwo space plane returns to Earth after a supersonic flight.

Virgin Galactic could easily get through the paperwork to fly Branson by July 4, according to Nield.

“To me, it looks absolutely very doable,” he said, though he emphasized that he is not privy to communications between Virgin Galactic and the FAA, which licenses commercial rocket launches.

Virgin Galactic might have to modify its license with the FAA in order to fly Branson. The modification would allow the company to fly “participants” as well as crew members (in this case, pilots and mission specialists). But Nield says that modification would be simple and quick, as long as the data from the last flight doesn’t reveal any major issues.

“The change in the license is just to say: ‘delete paragraph five,'” Nield said. “So it’s not a big deal.”

Branson could even get a new role as a crew member – acting as a mission specialist, for example. Then Virgin Galactic may not have to modify its license at all in order to fly him.

“In my opinion, there is nothing preventing Richard Branson from also flying as a member of the flight crew,” Nield said. “He is an employee of the company, and they can assign him whatever duties they want to. That’s not something the FAA gets involved in. That’s up to the company.”

When Insider asked about the report, an FAA spokesperson declined to comment on whether Virgin Galactic was pursuing a launch next month. Instead, the agency pointed out the “participant” license modification.

It’s not clear how much Virgin Galactic would have to change or speed up its original plans in order to get Branson to space before Bezos.

“If you hurry there’s always the possibility of cutting corners, but the people that are managing the flight have a pretty high incentive not to kill their boss,” Logsdon said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jeff Bezos will spend just 3 minutes in space, without a pilot. His launch will be unlike any prior US spaceflight.

jeff bezos new shepard launch blue origin thumb 4x3
Jeff Bezos (left) is set to launch aboard the New Shepard rocket (right) on July 20.

Jeff Bezos is preparing to rocket into space on July 20, but he won’t be there for very long. With Earth shining outside the windows, Bezos will float around the cabin of his company’s New Shepard spaceship for just three minutes before he has to strap into his seat again and fall back to the ground.

Blue Origin, the rocket company that Bezos founded in 2000, plans to use this launch system to carry tourists up to the edge of space. New Shepard’s goal is simple: give paying customers the ride of their lives. Passengers will get a few minutes of stunning views out of the largest windows of any spaceship in the world.

This is the first launch system designed for that purpose, and Bezos will be among the first people to fly on it, alongside his brother Mark and the highest bidder for the third seat. Combined, these factors make this flight unlike any other before it.

“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos said in a Monday Instagram post announcing his plans to rocket into space.

“I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure – it’s a big deal for me,” he added in an accompanying video.

In this dream-realizing flight of Bezos’s, there will be no pilot, since the process is automated – and perhaps not even spacesuits either. Here’s what to expect.

3 minutes of weightlessness

new shepard reusable rocket launch 2016 blue origin
Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard suborbital rocket launches toward space in 2016.

On launch day, Bezos, his brother, and a to-be-determined multimillionaire will climb into the round, spacious cabin of the New Shepard and strap in. If all goes according to plan, the rocket will then fire its engines, spewing flame and smoke across the plains of West Texas, in order to heave itself off the launchpad and into the skies.

As New Shepard screams through the atmosphere, the force of its climb and the pull of Earth’s gravity will pin the Bezos brothers and their guest into their reclining seats.

After just three minutes, they will suddenly feel weightless. They’ll have another three minutes to unbuckle and float around the cabin, drifting from one window to another. Those windows, which make up one-third of the capsule’s surface, will show the passengers the curve of Earth on one side of the spaceship and the blackness of space on the other.

BlueOrigin_NS15_03_WindowView
The view from space on New Shepard’s 15th flight, April 14, 2021.

Astronauts have a term for the feeling of awe this view of Earth can inspire: “the Overview Effect.”

“When we look down at the Earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet. It looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also, at the same time, looks extremely fragile,” Ron Garan, an astronaut who spent 177 days in space, explained in a 2013 documentary film titled “Overview.”

He added: “Anybody else who’s ever gone to space says the same thing because it really is striking and it’s really sobering to see this paper-thin layer and to realize that that little paper-thin layer is all that protects every living thing on Earth from death, basically.”

Briefly, for just a minute or two, the New Shepard spaceship should clear the Kármán line – an imaginary boundary 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level, where space begins.

Then as gravity takes hold again and the spaceship begins to fall back to Earth, Bezos and his co-passengers will strap in for a high-speed plunge through the atmosphere. Then the capsule should deploy three parachutes – likely giving the passengers a significant jerk as the chutes balloon into the air to brake the spaceship’s fall.

blue origin new shepard crew capsule landing parachute
The New Shepard crew capsule parachutes to a landing at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in Texas, January 14, 2021.

After that, the parachutes should carry the capsule to a gentle landing in the Texas desert, where a recovery crew will be waiting to retrieve the Bezoses and their companion.

Meanwhile, the rocket booster will fall back to Earth separately, fire its engines to slow itself to about 5 mph, and self-land on a concrete pad, to be restored and fly again another day.

blue origin new shepard rocket booster landing
The New Shepard booster lands after the vehicle’s fifth flight, May 2, 2019.

The whole journey will last about 11 minutes. That’s because New Shepard is a suborbital rocket. It’s too small, and its engines don’t have enough thrust, to push itself into orbit. So any tourists riding it, including Bezos, will just get to peek above the edge of space.

Another rocket company, Virgin Galactic, has flown people on similar suborbital flights before. But their missions require pilots to land their plane-like vehicle. For New Shepard, the entire flight is automated, so there will be no pilots or professional astronauts on board.

No spacesuits, either?

blue origin new shepard test flight mannequin skywalker
A dummy called Mannequin Skywalker flies onboard the New Shepard in a Blue Origin flight suit, January 14, 2021.

Blue Origin hasn’t specified whether Bezos or his companions will wear a pressurized spacesuit and helmet during their flight. But the company’s website indicates that New Shepard passengers will wear only a jumpsuit.

NASA astronauts and their international counterparts all wear pressurized spacesuits when they launch or land. NASA started requiring this after the Challenger disaster in 1986, when the Space Shuttle broke apart during launch, killing all seven crew members.

Spacesuits probably would not have saved the people aboard Challenger, but they could save lives if a space capsule happens to experience a cabin leak yet remain intact.

Blue Origin did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the upcoming flight. The New Shepard has flown successfully 15 times and has twice tested an emergency-escape system that should jettison the capsule and its passengers away from a failing rocket.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jeff Bezos will soon take an 11-minute flight aboard a rocket his space exploration company built. Here’s how his childhood obsession with space led to Blue Origin’s unprecedented spaceflight.

jeff bezos blue origin blue moon
  • Jeff Bezos will be aboard Blue Origin’s first human spaceflight in July.
  • The Amazon CEO and Blue Origin founder has been a space enthusiast since childhood.
  • In 2013, he traveled out to sea for three weeks to retrieve pieces of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On July 20, Jeff Bezos will be among the first human passengers to fly aboard New Shepard, a spacecraft built by his space exploration company, Blue Origin.

While it’s an unusual – and potentially risky – experiment, it’s not a very surprising one: Bezos has been obsessed with space since childhood.

“You’ve been passionate about space your whole life, but this is not just a plaything for you,” Mark Bezos said during an interview with his brother in 2017.

“No. God, no,” Bezos replied.

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the goal of democratizing human spaceflight. The company has grown slowly over the years, but in 2015, it completed a remarkable feat, one Bezos will soon attempt: Flying the New Shepard rocket 62 miles above Earth and landing it safely on the ground.

In a few weeks, Bezos will embark on his own 11-minute trip outside of the Earth’s gravitational pull, decades after he first became obsessed with space travel. Here’s where Bezos’ passion for space began.

Bezos’ interest in space stems from his maternal grandfather

The lore around Bezos’ childhood is well-known by this point: Every summer, he would travel to the South Texas ranch belonging to his grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise.

According to Brad Stone’s book, “Amazon Unbound,” Gise had spent the 1950s and 1960s working on space technology and missile defense systems for the Atomic Energy Commission, a federal agency that was created in 1946 to manage the use of nuclear energy for both civilian and military applications.

Bezos, it seems, developed his passion for space during those summers with his grandfather. There, he would watch Apollo launches and read science fiction books from the library, according to Stone’s book.

Bezos used his high school valedictorian speech to talk about colonizing space

By the time he was in high school in South Florida, Bezos had told his friends that he wanted to be a space entrepreneur, and already had big plans to make space travel a part of his career plans, according to a 1999 Wired profile.

He attended a space initiative for high schoolers at NASA’s campus in Hunstville, Alabama, and later started a summer camp for elementary school students that had a heavy emphasis on science – including interstellar travel and space colonies, according to Wired.

When Bezos became valedictorian of his senior class in 1982, he delivered a speech about overpopulation and pollution. His solution to those existential threats, according to Stone’s book, was to send civilization to space.

″[Bezos] wants to build space hotels, amusement parks, yachts and colonies for two or three million people orbiting around the earth,” a write-up of Bezos’ speech by the Miami Herald said. Then, it said, he would turn around and preserve Earth as one massive, national park.

jeff bezos star trek
Jeff Bezos attends the premiere of “Star Trek Beyond” in 2016.

Bezos has long been obsessed with science fiction about space travel

Bezos’ love of science fiction – particularly “Star Trek” – is evident in many of his business pursuits. During the early days of Amazon, he considered naming the company “MakeItSo.com,” a reference to a line from “Star Trek” character Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Bezos played the role of an alien in the 2016 film “Star Trek Beyond,” and at Blue Origin’s headquarters in Kent, Washington, there’s a model of the Starship Enterprise, the spaceship in the original “Star Trek” movies, according to Stone’s book.

To top it all off, Amazon’s arguably most popular product was inspired by “Star Trek” too. According to Stone’s book, beginning in the early 2010s, Bezos started talking about wanting to build a computer that worked like a personal assistant and could answer any question – that wish became Amazon’s Echo devices, which are powered by the Alexa smart assistant.

Bezos has traveled to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve pieces of Apollo 11

In 2013, Bezos, his brother, his brother-in-law, and his parents spent three weeks at sea recovering pieces of the engine of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which took the first humans to the moon.

“We’ve seen an underwater wonderland – an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program,” Bezos wrote of the experience.

After being sent to conservationists, the artifacts were installed at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

Bezos is stepping aside as Amazon CEO in favor of spending more time working on Blue Origin

When Bezos announced in February that he will step down as CEO of Amazon this year, he said he planned to spend more time on philanthropy, as well as his two other major endeavors: The Washington Post, which he purchased 2013, and Blue Origin.

But Bezos had hinted years earlier that space travel was rapidly becoming his focus.

“I get increasing conviction with every passing year that Blue Origin, the space company, is the most important work that I’m doing,” he said in 2018 during an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner. (Axel Springer is Insider’s parent company.)

Bezos added that he believes if he doesn’t pursue space travel, “we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis,” which he said he finds “demoralizing.” It’s his generation’s role, he said, to lower the barrier of entry to space travel.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet Mark Bezos, the younger brother of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who’s about to join him aboard Blue Origin’s first human space flight

Jeff Bezos Mark Bezos
Mark Bezos, left, and Jeff Bezos.

  • Jeff Bezos announced that his brother, Mark, will join him on a Blue Origin flight to space.
  • Mark, who is six years Jeff’s junior, is a volunteer fireman who has his own private equity firm.
  • He and Jeff are the “closest friends.” Jeff he described him as the “funniest guy in my life.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On July 20, Jeff Bezos and his younger brother, Mark, are heading to space.

The Amazon founder announced Monday that he and his brother will be on the first human flight of the New Shepard spacecraft, which is made by Blue Origin, Bezos’ space exploration company. The company is currently auctioning one of the six available seats aboard the flight, which will last 11 minutes and take the spacecraft 62 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Bezos said in a video posted to Instagram that he’s wanted to go to space his whole life, and that he asked his brother to come along “because we’re closest friends.”

So who is the younger Bezos? Here are five things we know about him.

Mark Bezos is the youngest of the Bezos siblings

According to a 1999 Wired profile on Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos is six years younger than his brother, who turned 57 in January. The brothers have a middle sister named Christina.

The Bezos siblings moved around a lot as kids, spending time in Albuquerque, Houston, and Pensacola, Florida. Their mother, Jackie, had Jeff as a teenager; their father, Mike, immigrated to the US from Cuba at age 15. The couple met while working at a local bank, and Mike Bezos became Jeff Bezos’ adoptive father.

He got his start in advertising and marketing

Mark Bezos attended Texas Christian University, graduating in 1992 with a degree in advertising and public relations, according to his LinkedIn page.

He got his start working at New York City ad firms like DDB and Saatchi & Saatchi. Then, in 1999, he founded and ran his own marketing company. The same year, he became a director at the Bezos Family Foundation, which was founded by Jackie and Mike Bezos.

In 2006, he began working at an organization called Robin Hood, not to be confused with the stock-trading app – Robin Hood is a New York-based nonprofit focused on fighting poverty. Bezos currently serves on Robin Hood’s leadership council.

Bezos is also the cofounder of private equity firm HighPost Capital.

He’s a volunteer firefighter

Bezos has been a volunteer with the Scarsdale Fire Department in Westchester County since 2005.

In 2011, Bezos gave a TED talk about being a firefighter, sharing a humorous story about being asked to do the unglamorous job of retrieving shoes for a woman whose house was on fire. But after hearing the woman’s appreciation, he said, he saw the importance of committing small acts of kindness and generosity.

“I would offer this reminder: Don’t wait,” Bezos said. “Don’t wait until you make your first million to make a difference in somebody’s life.”

He’s likely a millionaire several times over

Jeff Bezos’ parents invested invested $245,573 in Amazon in 1995, and while they haven’t publicly disclosed their Amazon holdings since 1999, they likely own millions of shares worth tens of billions of dollars, according to Bloomberg.

Mark and Christina also own shares in Amazon and are most likely worth several hundred million dollars apiece.

Last month, Mark put his Scarsdale home on the market for $11 million. The four-acre estate includes a main house with six bedrooms and four bathrooms, as well as a four-bedroom guest house. The property also includes a home theater, gym, wine cellar, and game room with a golf simulator.

Mark and his brother are close friends

In a Seattle Times profile on Jeff Bezos from 1999, Mark described what it feels like when your brother starts becoming famous.

“When your brother is all of a sudden one of these people who are being recognized, you look at him and try to imagine you’re seeing him for the first time,” said Mark Bezos. “(He’s) Jeff Bezos, the guy who started Amazon, as opposed to Jeff Bezos, the guy who used to make you tickle his feet.”

Mark interviewed Jeff onstage at a Summit leadership event in 2017 and joked about his brother’s astronomical wealth.

“If any of you do get confused, I’m the one with the smaller bank account to your left,” Mark said.

For his part, Jeff has described his brother as the “funniest guy in my life” and said that when they’re together – often drinking bourbon – “I just laugh continuously.”

The two brothers also support each other. According to the Seattle Times story, Jeff showed up at Mark’s first marathon in New York and started jogging with him at mile 25 to offer moral support, ducking out right before the finish line.

In the video about the upcoming spaceflight, Mark said he was “awestruck” that Jeff asked him to come.

“What a remarkable opportunity, not only to have this adventure, but to be able to do it with my best friend,” Mark said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jeff Bezos says he’s flying into space with his brother on July 20

Jeff Bezos Amazon
Amazon and Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • Jeff Bezos announced he’s going into space with his brother Mark Bezos on July 20.
  • The pair will be on the first human flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft.
  • The 11-minute flight will have six seats in total, one of which is currently up for auction.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jeff Bezos announced Monday that he and his brother Mark Bezos will be flying into space next month.

“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,” Bezos posted on Instagram on Monday. “On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother.”

The brothers will be flying on the first human flight of the New Shepard spacecraft, which is made by Jeff Bezos’ space-exploration company Blue Origin.

“I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure, it’s a big deal for me,” Bezos said in a video posted to Instagram.

“I invited my brother to come on this first flight because we’re closest friends,” he added.

“I wasn’t even expecting him to say that he was going to be on the first flight, and then when he asked me to go along I was just awe-struck,” said Mark Bezos in the same video.

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

Blue Origin is currently auctioning a seat on the same flight. The bidding for one of six seats on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft has reached $2.8 million with nearly 6,000 participants from 143 countries, the company told Insider in a statement.

Bidding is now live on Blue Origin’s website and finishes with a live online auction on June 12.

The 11-minute trip, which plans to blast the crew 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, will be the company’s first space tourism flight.

A maximum of six people can fit into the capsule, which sits on the top of the rocket booster. Once New Shepard reaches reaches a high altitude, the capsule would break away from the booster, reenter the atmosphere, and float back down to Earth with the help of parachutes.

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, and said in a 2018 interview that it’s his “most important work.” When Bezos announced in February that he will be leaving his role as CEO of Amazon, he said Blue Origin was one of the projects to which he wants to devote more of his attention.

Bezos is set to step down as Amazon CEO on July 5.

Read the original article on Business Insider