How to Watch Jeff Bezos Blue Origin Rocket Launch Live

After Richard Branson went into space last week, it was only a matter of time before the next billionaire followed suit. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who announced his intention to fly into space on the New Shepard mission with passengers even earlier than Branson's expedition, is next up.

On July 20, 2021, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Bezos' Blue Origin program will see its 16th New Shepard flight to space.

The difference this time is that it's the first trip with people on board, including Bezos himself.

There has already been a press conference ahead of the launch, and there is also expected to be another taking place afterwards.

The flight will be carrying an 82-year-old and an 18-year-old, the oldest and youngest people to ever go into space.

When Is Blue Origin Lift Off?

The launch broadcast will run for an hour and a half before the New Shepard mission actually begins, with coverage starting at 7:30 a.m. ET. Lift-off is expected at 9 a.m. ET.

The launch can be watched on the Blue Origin YouTube channel, as well as live via the official website.

After the launch, the participants will appear in a press conference, which will also be broadcast on the Blue Origin website.

At the launch itself, which takes place in the desert in Texas, there will be no spectators and part of the State Highway 54 will be closed to allow for complete privacy as the rocket launches.

Who Is Flying on New Shepard?

There will be four passengers on the flight, including the first paying customer, Oliver Daemen.

Daemen is the youngest person ever to travel to space, aged just 18.

The other three members of the flight are Bezos, along with his brother, Mark Bezos, and famed American aviator Wally Funk.

Funk is the oldest ever person to fly into space, aged 82.

Daemen is the son of Joes Daemen, the CEO and founder of Somerset Capital Partners, a hedge fund founded in 2009.

The young astronaut gained his place on the flight after a paying customer who won the Blue Origin auction for a space on the flight, was unable to take their place.

Sara Blask, a Blue Origin spokesperson, told the New York Times: "He was a participant in the auction and had secured a seat on the second flight.

"We moved him up when this seat on the first flight became available."

As a result that person, who has chosen to remain anonymous, will fly on a future New Shepard mission.

Jeff Bezos vs Richard Branson

On July 11, Virgin Galactic owner Branson was the first billionaire to fly into space on his own rocket.

His efforts have been flanked by those of Bezos and the New Shepard missions, as well as Elon Musk, who launched his SpaceX program in 2002.

Bezos, after congratulating Branson on his mission, was quick to imply the Virgin owner didn't make it to space after all in a tweet from Blue Origin.

From the beginning, New Shepard was designed to fly above the Kármán line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name. For 96% of the world’s population, space begins 100 km up at the internationally recognized Kármán line.

— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) July 9, 2021

Branson flew 53.5 miles above sea level on the V.S.S. Unity, which was above the marking set out by the United States Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration.

That means, according to those bodies, Branson made it to space. However, Bezos is basing his mission on the the Kármán line, a different boundary set out by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).

Its boundary begins after 100km, which is 24km further than Branson's boundary.

Branson said after his mission on the Today show: "It really wasn't a race. We wish Jeff the absolute best."

However, in a tweet from the Blue Origin account, the Bezos-founded company compared their experience to that of Virgin Galactic, saying: "From the beginning, New Shepard was designed to fly above the Kármán line so none of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their name.

"For 96% of the world's population, space begins 100km up at the internationally recognized Kármán line."

Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos at the launch site of Blue Origin before its maiden voyage. Blue Origin