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Branson: ‘Everyone would love to go to space’
But some, not least within Blue Origin, have questioned whether Sir Richard really did make it to space. He reached 53 miles above the surface of the earth, beyond NASA’s recognised threshold of space. But Mr Bezos will go above the so-called Karman line of 62 miles above the surface of the earth, the internationally recognised limit of space.
Both men have insisted the race to prove that space tourism is viable is not personal contest.
“There was one person who was the first person in space, his name was Yuri Gagarin and that happened a long time ago,” said Mr Bezos.
“This isn’t a competition, this is about building a road to space so that future generations can do incredible things in space.”
But he, Sir Richard and fellow billionaire space enthusiast Elon Musk have yet to demonstrate how the price of such flights will ever be within the grasp of those without money to burn.
The Blue Origin launch will take place in a remote stretch of desert bought by Mr Bezos for the purpose of space flight. The small town of Van Horn nearby is suddenly the focus of the global space spotlight.
Mr Bezos has long talked about building colonies for trillions of people in space or shifting pollutants to other planets and making earth residential-only.
His high school girlfriend once said that founding Amazon was only ever about funding his adventures in space, something he jokingly refused to confirm or deny.
That moment – 52 years in the making – is about to arrive.