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Bezos to fly on first manned New Shepard suborbital flight in July

Capitalism in space: Jeff Bezos announced today that he and his brother Mark will be passengers on the first manned commercial New Shepard suborbital flight, now scheduled to launch on July 20th.

“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 says in the brief video.

In that video, Bezos asks his younger brother Mark, to accompany him on the flight. “I think it would be meaning to have my brother there,” he said.

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

Right now the high bid in the auction for the other passenger seat remains stuck at $2.4 million. The bidding ends on June 12 with a live auction instead of an online one, but it appears that whoever bid that amount has no competitors and will be the passenger.

As for Bezos’ flight, his announcement means he will beat out Richard Branson for this honor. Bezos’ victory is especially embarrassing to Branson, who had been promising everyone that he would be the first suborbital passenger on his Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo suborbital spacecraft for almost twenty years. Those promises were bunkum. Bezos meanwhile made no such promises, and will deliver.

If you had to choose between these two car salesmen, who would you pick?

I however would choose neither. These suborbital car salesmen are fighting over the honors to launch what is equivalent to a rowboat. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is meanwhile building the equivalent of an ocean liner (Starshp) even as it is about to launch the equivalent of the first passenger steam ship (Falcon 9 with paying civilian passengers). I pick Musk.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • William F

    Lex Luthor in space

  • Cotour

    I think the boss being on the first manned flight might create a level of stress for the launch and systems crews that might add to the already inherently dangerous activity. (?)

    And I would think when that man is the richest human on the planet the risk reward equation becomes irrational. He must be very bored, and he has that new trophy GF to prove what a stud he is. And he is a nerd. (So many story lines here)

    Its great if all goes well.

    Imagine the symbolism, the high testosterone in your face to Elon Musk.

    (Be humble Mr. Bezos, you already have everything else)

    Musk already owns the bragging rights in vehicle launches and commercial potential.

    I wish him all the best and good luck.

  • George C

    I think it is both genuine and sweet that he is flying on the first trip and with his brother. You couldn’t have a better promotion of tourist activity. In the future of course going to Mars is 1000 times a more serious business.

  • NavyNuke

    NPR was pumping this story on Morning Edition today. They wrapped it up by saying that he will beat Elon Musk, who only flew a mannequin in a Tesla. A red herring of course. Now, I think there could be benefits from allowing Jeff Bezos to replace the mannequin on a trans-Mars orbit.

  • NavyNuke: Why are you wasting any of your precious life listening to garbage Democratic Party propaganda outlets like NPR? You know in advance they will get the story wrong in order to promote that leftist party’s agenda. Bezos is their teammate so of course they’ll say he “will beat Musk”, even though an honest appraisal of what their two companies have accomplished in the last five years makes Bezos look like a joke in comparison to Musk.

    I stopped listening to such junk about the time NPR decided that Bill Clinton just couldn’t be guilty of perjury, and it was their job not to report the news but to cover for him. That’s about 25 years ago, and I have found I am now far better informed for it.

  • Doubting Thomas


    Bezo’s Brothers………..Double blechhh

    I agree with Robert that the game goes to Musk with Dragon and Starship and I agree with Cotour about the pressure this puts on Blue Origin employees.

    I had another thought about the parachute system on New Shepard’s capsule but while Bezo’s aka Lex Luthor deserves the thought…….the though is unChristian.

  • john hare

    @ Robert,
    If you never listen to alternate opinions, you will not know what they are saying or the direction of their drive. If you must see it as a conflict between us and them, it is needful to know about the opposition. I find it hard to listen to NPR, but occasionally do anyway to see what else is being said.

    Think of it as intelligence in the military sense if you see it as conflict. Or see it as understanding if you are in problem solving mode. In either case, listening only in the echo chamber leads one astray. I read this site daily, but occasionally skim others that think differently as a cross check as well as pay particular attention to your comments section.

    There are those certainly not worth the time and attention. There are others that will blindside one that is unaware.

  • john hare

    On another site I noticed that Branson is trying for a Fourth of July flight in Space Ship Two as a response to Bezos. Now there is a white knuckle event. Before the argument starts, I will say that I have considerably more respect for the 100 KM Karman line than the 50 mile altitude as grounds for bragging rights. The first is unambiguous world wide, the second is not.

  • John Hare: Though I in principle agree with you, in reality it is absurd to think my refusal to listen to NPR means I do not hear the “other side.” In fact, it is impossible for a conservative not to hear the leftist perspective in our modern world. That perspective dominates all mainstream news sources and the entire culture. You can’t escape it.

    In fact, my daily series, “Today’s blacklisted American,” describes bluntly many examples, now more than 100 in less than five months, where the “other side” has made its position most clear. If anything, I am devoting more time that I care to reading and learning about that “other side.” And it disgusts me.

  • NavyNuke

    RZ: I commute 40 miles each way to work. I have 10 FM presets and 5 AM presets. Half are classic rock and classic country stations. The balance is NPR, two general talk radio, two conservative talk radio, and two Christian radio. NPR is my default when nothing else is interesting and/or in commercial breaks. As I enter my dotage I find myself yelling more at incomplete/inaccurate reporting on all the stations. The quality of journalism is truly abysmal. A trifecta is yelling at at least one Fox, NPR, and AFR report in a single commute. I find it valuable to get information from all sides – it helps maintain to my cynicism! There is also some social value to being able to talk about an NPR story to my coworkers in the city and the local farm report to my neighbor up the road.

  • NavyNuke

    JH: I would be more impressed if Bezos was actually flying “New Shepard” on an RM-3 trajectory like Alan Shepard did. Bezos on New Shepard is little more that a high priced carnival ride, IMO. A 50 mi. pogo stick bounce is less technically difficult than a 100 km one but both are novelties compared to a Crew Dragon. With a two year head start on SpaceX, I expect more from Blue Origin. BO is acting more like legacy aerospace.

  • NavyNuke: Ah, that 40 mile commute explains all. As a freelance writer whose commute is the walk from my bedroom to my office (about 15 seconds), I am not stuck in a situation where NPR might actually be a reasonable option.

  • Jay

    Unfortunately my mother listens to NPR. I once heard it while visiting her and it makes Radio Havana out of Cuba on the shortwave sound like Fox News. What tripe.

  • Edward

    Dragon may be the better ride, overall, but it is priced outside many budgets and flies infrequently. New Shepard and SpaceShipTwo are within far more budgets and should fly more often, so I expect that they will find plenty of customers. They may even eventually pay for their development costs. Or not.

    At least both Bezos and Branson are confident in their spacecraft. This is a good sign, but it would have been so much better had either or both been more enthusiastic about starting their tourism revenue streams. Had they been flying passengers years ago, then long ago we could have started seeing the same excitement and investment for space travel that we are now seeing due to Dragon. Fortunately, Starliner is likely to become operational within a year, and that should really get things going, but it is also priced outside many budgets and also flies infrequently.

    I have great expectations for commercial space tourism and commercial space research and manufacturing in the next few years.

  • wayne

    Elon Musk & Akira The Don
    “If You Don’t Make Stuff, There’s NO Stuff” ?
    June 2020

  • wayne


    NPR’s Delicious Dish
    (SNL Parody circa 2000)

  • Michael

    Bet he uses his influence to get a window seat.

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