Jeff Bezos jokes about ‘last meal’ before Blue Origin space flight
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Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, prepared to blast off into space by joking with reporters Monday evening about his “last meal.”
The Amazon founder, who has a net worth of more than $200 billion, was spotted carrying a tray of Arroz con Pollo along with his brother Mark, who will join him on Tuesday’s space flight.
The two plopped the dishes of food on a table for reporters gathered at the launch site of his New Shepard space rocket in Van Horn, Texas.
Bezos could be seen sporting a belt buckle with an engraving of a rocket cradling through space.
The mega-billionaire briefly joked with a reporter who asked if it was “his last meal.”
“Did somebody say last meal?” Bezos responded with a laugh.
“I don’t think you have to put it that way!” he joked. “Let’s talk about it in a different way!”
The light-hearted moment came as Bezos and his brother Mark prepared to launch into space Tuesday on Blue Origin’s first crewed spaceflight ever.
The historic flight comes on the anniversary of another hallmark moment in human space travel. It’s exactly 52 years after the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon.
The Bezos brothers will be joined by Dutch 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, who will become the youngest person ever to travel to space once the trip is completed, and trailblazing former NASA trainee Wally Funk, 82.
Funk, who will become the oldest person ever to travel to space once the trip is completed, was a member of NASA’s Woman in Space Program in the 1960s.
Funk excelled in training, even performing better than her male counterparts, but the program was shuttered before she had the chance to become an astronaut.
Tuesday’s trip will cap her decades-long dream of reaching the great unknown, she has said in interviews over the past few weeks.
Blue Origin, which Bezos founded 21 years ago, tweeted a portrait of the four soon-to-be astronauts on Monday evening — saying they have completed training and are a “go for launch.”
Bezos’ billionaire space rival Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX, wished the crew the “best of luck.”
Sir Richard Branson became the first billionaire founder to reach space on his own company’s, Virgin Galactic’s, rocket on July 11.
While Branson’s leapfrogging of Bezos to make it to space first was seen as an example of how competitive the new-age space race between private companies is, Branson wished Bezos and the rest of the crew well on Monday.
“Best wishes @JeffBezos and the @BlueOrigin crew from all of us at @VirginGalactic,” he said on Instagram.
The Blue Origin team has noted, though, some differences between their flight and that of Virgin Galactic.
The 11-minute flight is expected to see Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket accelerate to more than three times the speed of sound.
After detaching from the booster, the pilot-less capsule, which is designed to carry up to six passengers, is expected to reach an altitude of more than 100 kilometers — making it slightly higher than the Karman Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space.
The US, meanwhile, recognizes a lower boundary of space, which is at an altitude of 80 kilometers.
Blue Origin has noted that Virgin Galactic does not reach the Karman Line, though it does reach the edge of space, as recognized by the US.
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