On Tuesday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with his space crew will attempt to take their first human space travel flight on his own rocket to the Kármán line (imaginary boundary 100 km above sea level).
How to watch
The take-off is targeted for 6:30 pm in India on Tuesday. The live broadcast starts 90 minutes before the take-off.
The flight from Launch Site One (west Texas desert) to the edge of space and back will be 11 minutes long. The nearest town Van Horn site is 25 miles (40 km) north of the launch site.
New Shepard will have a speed of more than 2,300 mph (3,700 kph) after take-off. The liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen engine generates only water vapour as a by-product.
With room for six astronauts, the spacious and pressurized crew capsule is environmentally controlled for comfort and every passenger gets their own window seat.
The capsule separates from its booster at 76 km and flies further up to a peak of 106 km (65 miles). The booster returns on its own to a landing point north of Launch Site One.
The passengers unbuckle and experience floating, rolling, turning and weightlessness (near-zero gravity) for three to four minutes. They can see spherical earth and the cosmos (with its inky black colour).
The capsule has a free fall to Earth with three mega parachutes along with a thruster so as to land gently in the west Texas desert.
The fully autonomous New Shepard is 60 feet tall (18.3 m) and needs no pilots. It is a reusable rocket-and-capsule combo, which is named after the first American to go to space, astronaut Alan Shepard on Mercury.
When asked about comparisons with Sir Richard Branson’s earlier flight on July 11, Bezos told NBC that the first man in space was Yuri A. Gagarin (Russian cosmonaut who went aboard Vostok 1 in 1961). He said he was ‘curious’ and ‘excited’ not ‘nervous’!