- The Washington Times - Monday, July 19, 2021

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Monday he is excited to see how his visit to space changes him as he prepares for the first crewed flight of his Blue Origin space company.

Tuesday’s launch from West Texas will open a new chapter in commercial space tourism and comes on the heels of Richard Branson’s flight to the edge of space a week ago with Virgin Galactic.

“I have just been dreaming of this really my whole life, but I don’t know what it’s going to mean for me,” Mr. Bezos told ABC News’ “Good Morning America.” “I don’t know, I’m very curious about what tomorrow is actually going to bring. Everybody who’s been to space says it changes them in some way. And I’m just really excited to figure out how it’s going to change me.”

The flight is scheduled to take 11 minutes and bring the four-member crew above the Karman line that’s considered the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.

“People say they see the thin limb of the Earth’s atmosphere, it teaches them how fragile and precious the planet is, how there are there no boundaries,” Mr. Bezos said. “I don’t know what it’s going to do, but I’m excited to find out.”

Mr. Bezos will be joined by his brother, Mark, and Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, an 82-year-old aviation pioneer whose space ambitions were derailed in the 1960s when the Mercury 13 program for women was canceled.

An 18-year-old Dutch student, Oliver Daemen, will round out the crew.

Trips to space are open to an exclusive club of the wealthy, at least for now, though Mr. Branson and Mr. Bezos say they’re trying to make the journeys common enough to broaden access.

“What we’re hoping to do is to build the road to space for the future generations,” Mr. Bezos told ABC.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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