A month ago, the head of Blue Origin and then the head of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, announced that he would fly into space on the New Shepard spacecraft on July 20. Thus, Bezos would have to become the first executive of a private space company to go into space in his own ship. But the head of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson (Richard Branson) decided to get ahead of the competitor and go flying on July 11.
Blue Origin’s reaction was not long in coming. The company recalled that its New Shepard spacecraft rises to an altitude of over 100 km, overcoming the Karman Line – the conditional boundary of space, located just at an altitude of 100 km. At the same time, the SpaceShipTwo ship, although it is designed to fly at an altitude of over 100 km, in all its previous flights only reached an altitude of about 80 km. Apparently, tomorrow’s flight will not be an exception.
Thus, Branson’s flight cannot be considered a flight into space. In addition, Blue Origin pointed to other competitor’s shortcomings: small windows, lack of an emergency rescue system, a more environmentally harmful engine and only 3 test flights versus 15 for New Shepard.
It should be noted that the Karman line is only one of the conditional boundaries of outer space, which is not considered as such everywhere. But Blue Origin notes that only 4% of the world recognizes the 80 km border.