杰夫贝佐斯将会很空间。第一天:倒计时

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“你可以继续前进并戳你的头,”杰夫贝斯告诉我。这是2018年夏天,他在华盛顿州肯特,华盛顿州肯特的蓝色原产地厂展示了我,其中火箭队和贝塞斯私人空间公司的船员胶囊制造。虽然你认为这是一个11分钟的旅程没有必要,但每个乘客都会获得自己的飞行娱乐屏幕,贝佐斯告诉我,将展示您在航空公司上获得的空中的较冷者版本,在高度,速度和g力上的指标,以及从胶囊上的各种相机的实时视图。上午8点,世界上最富有的人将会到太空。

“你可以继续前进并戳你的头,”杰夫贝斯告诉我。这是2018年夏天,他在华盛顿州肯特,华盛顿州肯特的蓝色原产地厂展示了我,其中火箭队和贝塞斯私人空间公司的船员胶囊制​​造。我们在现场的两个船员舱口的舱口站在舱内,他邀请我进入。我几乎不得不挤压通过相当大的舱口。里面有六个座位,看起来像昂贵的游戏椅子,沿着锥形胶囊的圆周安排。中间是一个大的圆形甲板。每个座位都沿着窗户。虽然你认为这是一个11分钟的旅程没有必要,但每个乘客都会获得自己的飞行娱乐屏幕,贝佐斯告诉我,将展示您在航空公司上获得的空中的较冷者版本,在高度,速度和g力上的指标,以及从胶囊上的各种相机的实时视图。我趴在其中一个椅子上。

这就是Jeff Bezos本人将于明天做的,在爬上七个步骤的航班后左右7:36,在新的谢泼德火箭的顶部进入胶囊。上午8点,世界上最富有的人将会到太空。陪同他将成为他的兄弟,标记;加上沃利·恐怖,这是一个82岁的女航空先驱;还有18岁的支付客户。这个新的Shepard任务的两个座位 - 名称蓝色原产地给了其副岩体火箭 - 在这次航班上将是空的,这是一个令人惊讶的物流异常,对于商人来说,算法每天占据数千个卡车来最大化每一寸的空间。

船上不会有飞行员。 “这都是自主的!” Bezos告诉我。我有点震惊:甚至不是乘务员?不。整个航班 - 从起飞期间从发射垫上射击火箭,从可重复使用的助推器分离,到发动机截止的时候,新铸造的宇航员在狂喜的大约三分钟的狂喜失重,到降落伞的发动机截止在血统上部署 - 都是AI驱动的。如果在最初的几个时刻,需要使使命中止,所以需要仓促分离胶囊,这不是一个制定这些决定的人。

在我的工厂之旅期间,我想知道的是:如果我是一位乘客,我怎么能肯定我回到我的座位上?我的噩梦将是我在失重时漂浮的噩梦,当胶囊开始下降时,我不会发现我的路上回到我的座位上绑在一起。我常常找不到安全带桶优步骑。

不用担心!贝佐斯向我保证,当(自动化)公告告诉宇航员拿走座位时,它将是一个肚带。他指着丰富的手持式,彩色蓝色所以没有人会想念他们。 “只要你可以抓住东西,你可以在胶囊上操纵自己,”他说。 “在零G中进入座位可能更容易。另一件事是指出,G-力的开始实际上非常渐进。“仍然,后来在路上,压力达到5克所以,屈曲的是重要的。

然后,我们正在谈论那些将支付25万美元左右的理论蓝色原产票持有人,或者成为空间游客。我没有想象贝塞斯本人将在第一次飞行。而且,我怀疑,他也没有。但这就是我们在2021年夏天的地方。世界仍然在大流行的围绕,气候变化正在威胁到地球的大部分地区,我们正在观看世界上最富有的人逃避地球11分钟。一周前几乎没有一周,另一个亿万富翁的空间公司,Richard Branson,在他自己的火箭队中漂浮,讲述了世界上的孩子,他们应该从他的壮举中吸取的灵感,并在他的回归时突然弹出香槟软木塞。

Bezos可能会说从地球逃脱是重点。因为蓝色起源明天热情地推动其空间旅游业务,但贝奥斯一直强调,他的长期目标是远远超出检查“宇航员”的“宇航员”,以便为富裕客户的桶名单。他认为,人类的命运将向我们指导我们巨大的空间殖民地,最终支持一万亿人口。在短期内,特别是鉴于Bezos和Branson之间的Ginned-Up竞争,我想知道该信息是否可能会丢失,因为平民空间旅行成为支付能力的代名词,或赢得任何电力经纪人拥有的支持火箭队。

我从德克萨斯州德克萨斯州德克萨斯州的德克萨斯州德克萨斯州德克萨斯州镇的德克萨斯州镇上的州际公路标志的州际公路牌,是2,500个灵魂的所在地。这是我第三次对这个小沙漠镇,这填补了其每个人所说的能力有限的能力。我上次在这里,我看了一个蓝色的起源发射(虽然唯一乘客是一个名为mannequin skywalker的测试假人的地方,所以我自己的桶列表已经检查了那个盒子。我猜历史就是在这里吸引我的原因,尽管我承认这是一个恰当地使这是一个主要的里程碑,而不是未来的时间表。

在技​​术成就方面,实际航班突破了地面。 1961年的Alan Shepard的第一个人体傀儡旅程本身就是一种安慰奖,因为俄罗斯人已经将宇航员送入轨道两次。布兰森已经是第一个乘坐自己的船的第一亿机器空间。 Elon Musk的私人Spacex公司现在经常向宇航员发送到轨道国际空间站。与Spacex一样,Blue的火箭队通常会恢复Terra Firma没有武装。

然而,你可以闻到这里的东西不同,这并不一定是蓝色的人吹捧。在星期日新闻发布会期间,蓝色原产人官员们一直在谈论所有的第一款。最引人注目的一个,当然是一个伟大的未来琐事答案,就是这次航班将包括最古老和最年轻的人来前往太空。除了Bezos和他的兄弟Mark-Instagram帖子外,举办了较旧的兄弟姐妹,乘坐乘坐副兄弟的兄弟姐妹,船员包括Wally Funk,被邀请者名叫曾被培训的汞计划,谁将成为最古老的人样本空间旅行,并支付客户奥利弗守护进程,谁将成为最年轻的。高管还声称,他们是第一家商业公司向空间发送支付客户。这是一个薄弱的区别,因为一家名为Space Ventures的公司一直在安排通道,以获得非常坚硬的费用,到最终的前沿。其中一名客户,前微软科学家Charles Simonyi,甚至认为是俄罗斯空间船上的两次旅行的第一个亿万富翁的区别。 (对不起,布兰森。)

然而,这里发生了重要的事情,这都是关于贝奥斯的。对我来说,他对新Shepard第一个人类飞行的乘客清单的自我导向的纳入是邦克斯,并要求我们的注意力。他不仅是世界上最富有的人类,而且是最聪明的人之一。无论您是否批准他的商业实践,他建造了一个占主导地位和创新的公司,改变了许多生活,他看到了其他人没有的机会。是的,自从他是一个少年以来,他被太空旅行很激动,但作为一个成年人,他的简历要求我们在他说他这样做的时候让他感到严重,而不是提升人类精神。他是举起人类。这就是为什么当他说我们的命运时我们不能把他作为曲柄写下来 - 因为盖亚生病了,不能让资源能够在太阳系中的其他地方维持美国。当他身体上落在宇宙飞船上时,他嘴里的嘴巴的钱也在。

这就是为什么所谓的Branson竞争,他听到一旦他听说Bezos将于7月20日崛起,这是对贝佐斯崛起的竞争,这是一种不受欢迎的分心。蓝色原产地应该严格地粘在高地。相反,在公开祝贺的布兰森,蓝色已经做了一些狙击手,特别是争夺虽然处女的VSS统一达到大约50英里的高度,但被公认为FAA的太空旅行,但它缺乏“真实”的空间62英里的Kármán线,其船员胶囊会交叉。 “我们的名字旁边没有星号,”蓝色起源挤在推文中。 (对于记录,60年前的Alan Shepard的亚流线航班达到116英里,蓝色原产地将走的几乎是两倍。)

事实上,明天有一些真正鼓舞人心的事情:沃利·恐怖队正在走空间。我一直在阅读她的生命 - 成就之一,但有一个黑暗的阴影。她是原始水星13的最年轻成员,1960年招募了一群妇女,以培训作为私人计划的宇航员。在一些测试中,在某些情况下,在某些情况下超出了汞中的男性宇航员的表现7.但是当瞬间将该计划带入美国宇航局时,政府只是关闭它。房子举行了听证会,也许是对妇女纳入的最具说服力的见证人是约翰格伦,他们作证了:“女性不在这一领域的事实是我们社会秩序的事实。这可能是不可取的。“

恐惧从未拒绝过拒绝。当NASA接受女宇航员时,资格改变了,所以她没有机会赢得一个地方。她花了她的生命培训飞行员,并调查国家运输安全委员会的航空灾害。但她生命中的洞是她没有离开气氛。随着时间的推移,她把她所有的希望都对布兰森的统一钉出来了。她是第一个筹集了200,000美元的空间的席位,成为维尔京银河最热切的客户之一,达到了数千英里的事件,即公司定期举办它仍然打算的门票持有者保持其承诺。抢夺她远离布兰森,包括她在新的Shepard的少女的人类飞行中是一个政变,我迫不及待地想听到她履行终身痴迷之后明天明天说什么。

另一方面,如果有一个灵感的Kármán系列,那么选择Oliver守护进程作为第一个付费客户的选择将缺乏它。 Funk不得不等待60年的航班,但是18岁的守护守护守护人很幸运能够拥有一个冒险的父亲,他在拍卖中出价的拍卖。 (蓝色原产地将这笔钱发送到与空间相关的非营利组织。)我们不知道这笔总和是什么,但原来的胜利2800万美元出价来自一个未知的参与者,他们神秘地退出了航班前几天,引用了一个时间表冲突。 (我们真的相信有人致力于2800万美元的时间去空间而不检查日历吗?更透明度,请告诉我们现在赢得现在赢得的危险程度。而且当蓝色原产地将宣布官方价格进入太空时对于未来的客户,从计划为今年计划的更多航班。)守护进程可能是一个灿烂的年轻人,他的父亲必须是一个酷酷的家伙,在私营公司的第一个乘客旅行中购买他的十几岁的儿子,但是他的包容邀请了关于育儿,安全和特权的讨论,我不确定蓝色原产地想要点燃。

无论如何,随着升降方法,所有这些问题都会淡入发射本身的兴奋。有些东西可以可靠地下降巨大的宇宙飞船,射击火箭队和向天上升起,而这一事实在船上(其中两者)将使这种不可抗拒,甚至是最震惊的怀疑论者。看到火箭本身恢复地球并直立地驶向它的发射垫也很令人兴奋。

在这里的蓝色原产地基20英里,火箭已经过了推出并正在等待一个名为“谷仓”的巨大的机库。在镇和基地之间,一个新建的“宇航员村” - 我告诉房屋唤起乡村风格度假村的感觉 - 正在举办第一个船员。他们正在完成他们的为期两天的培训,共有14个小时的学习安全程序,进入,出口 - 是的,在下降开始时如何回到座位。

神脚。



英文译文:

“You can go ahead and poke your head in,” Jeff Bezos told me. It was the summer of 2018, and he was showing me around the Blue Origin factory in Kent, Washington, where the rockets and the crew capsule for Bezos’ private space company are manufactured. We were standing by the hatch of one of two crew capsules on site, which he invited me to enter. I hardly had to squeeze to pass through the sizable hatch. Inside there were six seats, looking like pricey gaming chairs, arranged along the circumference of the cone-shaped capsule. In the middle was a large circular deck. A window was alongside each seat. And though you’d think it wasn’t necessary for an 11-minute journey, each passenger will get their own in-flight entertainment screen, which, Bezos told me, will show a much cooler version of the AirShow you get on an airline, with metrics on altitude, speed, and g-forces, as well as live views from various cameras on the capsule. I plopped down on one of the chairs.

This is what Jeff Bezos himself will do tomorrow, at around 7:36 am central time, after climbing seven flights of steps to enter the capsule on top of a New Shepard rocket. At 8 am, the world’s richest man is going to space. Accompanying him will be his brother, Mark; plus Wally Funk, an 82-year-old female aviation pioneer; and an 18-year-old paying customer. The other two seats on this New Shepard mission—the name Blue Origin gives to its suborbital rocket—will be empty on this flight, a surprising logistical anomaly for a businessman whose algorithms pack thousands of trucks each day to maximize every inch of space.

There will be no pilot on board. “It’s all autonomous!” Bezos told me. I was kind of shocked: not even a flight attendant? Nope. The entire flight—from the rockets firing on the launch pad during takeoff, to the separation of the capsule from the reusable booster, to the engine cutoff around the time that the newly-minted astronauts get about three minutes of ecstatic weightlessness, to the parachutes that deploy on descent—is all AI-driven. If within the first few moments there’s a need for the mission to abort, necessitating a hasty separation of the capsule, it won’t be a human that makes those decisions.

During my tour of the factory, what I wanted to know was: If I was a passenger, how could I be sure I got back to my seat in time? My nightmare would be that I’d be having so much fun floating around weightlessly that when the capsule began its descent I wouldn’t find my way back to my seat to get strapped in. I often can’t find the seat belt bucket on an Uber ride.

No worries! Bezos assured me that when the (automated) announcement tells the astronauts to take their seats, it will be a cinch to do so. He pointed to the abundance of handholds, colored blue so no one could miss them. “As long as you can grab onto something, you can maneuver yourself in the capsule,” he says. “It’ll probably be even easier to get into your seat in zero g. The other thing to note is that the onset of g-forces is actually very gradual.” Still, later on the way down, the pressure gets to 5 g’s so, buckling in is kind of important.

Back then, we were talking about theoretical Blue Origin ticket holders who would be paying a sum of maybe $250,000 or so to become space tourists. I didn’t imagine that Bezos himself would be on that first flight. And, I suspect, neither did he. But that’s where we are in the summer of 2021. The world is still in the throes of a pandemic, climate change is threatening vast parts of the planet, and we’re watching the world’s richest man escape Earth for 11 minutes. Barely more than a week ago, another billionaire owner of a space company, Richard Branson, floated around in his own rocketship, lectured the world’s children on the inspiration they should draw from his feat, and popped a champagne cork on his return.

Bezos might say that escaping from Earth is the point. Because while Blue Origin is enthusiastically launching its space tourism business tomorrow, Bezos has been emphatic that his long-term goal is something far beyond checking “astronaut” off the bucket list for wealthy customers. He believes that humanity’s destiny will direct us to vast space colonies, ultimately supporting a population of a trillion humans. In the short term, especially in light of the ginned-up competition between Bezos and Branson, I wonder if that message might be lost, as civilian space travel becomes synonymous with the ability to pay, or to win the favor of whichever power broker owns the rockets.

I’m writing this from the rural West Texas town of Van Horn, which according to the road sign on Interstate 10, is home to 2,500 souls. It’s my third time to this small desert town, which is filling up past its limited capacity for what everyone says will be an historic launch. My last time here, I viewed a Blue Origin launch (albeit one where the only passenger was a test dummy named Mannequin Skywalker), so my own bucket list has that box checked already. I guess history is what drew me here, though I admit that it’s tough to justify exactly what makes this a major milestone, as opposed to a data point in future timelines.

The actual flight, in terms of technical achievement, breaks no ground. The first human suborbital journey, by Alan Shepard in 1961, was itself kind of a consolation prize, as the Russians had already sent astronauts into orbit twice. Branson has already been the first billionaire space magnate to ride his own ship. Elon Musk’s private SpaceX company is now routinely sending astronauts to the orbiting International Space Station. As with SpaceX, Blue’s rockets generally return to terra firma unharmed.

Yet you can smell something different here, and it’s not necessarily what the Blue Origin people are touting. During a Sunday press briefing, Blue Origin officials kept talking about all the firsts. The most compelling one, and certainly a great future trivia answer, is that this flight will include both the oldest and youngest person to travel to space. In addition to Bezos and his brother Mark—an Instagram post showed the older sibling delivering the suborbital proposal, Bachelorette-style—the crew includes Wally Funk, an invited guest named who once trained for the Mercury program, who will be the oldest person to sample space travel, and paying customer Oliver Daemon, who will be the youngest. The executives also claimed that they were the first commercial company sending a paying customer to space. That’s a thin distinction, since a company called Space Ventures has been arranging passage, for a very stiff fee, to the final frontier for years. One of its customers, former Microsoft scientist Charles Simonyi, even holds the distinction of being the first billionaire in space, twice traveling on a Russian space agency ship. (Sorry, Branson.)

Yet something important is happening here, and it’s all about Bezos. To me, his self-directed inclusion on the passenger manifest of New Shepard’s first human flight is kind of bonkers, and demands our attention. He’s not only the world’s richest human, but probably one of the smartest. Whether you approve of his business practices or not, he built a dominant and innovative company that’s changed many lives, and he saw opportunities when others did not. Yes, he was thrilled by space travel since he was a teenager, but as an adult his resume demands that we take him seriously when he says that he’s doing this for far more than lifting the human spirit. He’s into lifting humans. That is why we can’t write him off as a crank when he says that our destiny—because Gaia is sick and can’t deliver the resources to sustain us—lies elsewhere in the solar system. When he physically gets on a spaceship, he’s putting more than money where his mouth is.

That’s why the so-called competition with Branson, who blatantly switched the Virgin Galactic testing schedule once he heard that Bezos would rise on July 20, is an unwelcome distraction to Bezos and company. Blue Origin should have strictly stuck to the high ground. Instead, while publicly congratulating Branson, Blue has done some sniping, especially to contend that while Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity attained an altitude of around 50 miles, which is recognized as space travel by the FAA, it falls short of “real” space, the 62-mile Kármán Line that its crew capsule will cross. “None of our astronauts have an asterisk next to their names,” Blue Origin crowed in a tweet. (For the record, Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight 60 years ago went to 116 miles, almost twice as high as Blue Origin will go.)

In fact, there is something truly inspiring happening tomorrow: Wally Funk is going to space. I’ve been reading about her life—one of accomplishment, but with a dark shadow. She was the youngest member of the original Mercury 13, a group of women recruited in 1960 to train as astronauts for a private program. Funk aced every test, in some cases exceeding the performance of the male astronauts in Mercury 7. But when the moment came to bring the program into NASA, the government simply shut it down. The House held a hearing, and perhaps the most persuasive witness against women’s inclusion was John Glenn, who testified: “The fact that women are not in this field is a fact of our social order. It may be undesirable.”

Funk never got over the rejection. By the time NASA accepted female astronauts, the qualifications had changed, so she had no chance to win a spot. She’s spent her life training pilots, and investigating aviation disasters for the National Transportation Safety Board. But the hole in her life was her failure to leave the atmosphere. With time running out, she’d pinned all her hopes on Branson’s Unity. She was among the the first to commit to a $200,000 seat on his version of a spaceflight and became one of Virgin Galactic’s most fervent customers, traveling thousands of miles to the events that the company would regularly host to assure ticket holders that it still intended to keep its promise. Snatching her away from Branson and including her on New Shepard’s maiden human flight was a coup, and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say tomorrow after she fulfills her life-long obsession.

On the other hand, if there was a Kármán line for inspiration, the selection of Oliver Daemon as the first paying customer would fall short of it. Funk had to wait 60 years for her flight, but 18-year-old Daemon was lucky enough to have a father who runs a hedge fund, who bid some millions of dollars in an auction for the open seat. (Blue Origin is sending the money to space-related nonprofits.) We don’t know what the sum is, but the original winning $28 million bid came from an unknown participant who mysteriously backed out days before the flight, citing a schedule conflict. (Are we to really believe someone committed $28 million to go to space without checking the calendar? More transparency, please. Maybe tell us how much the now-winning underbid was. And also when Blue Origin will announce the official price to go in space for future customers, starting with the two more flights planned for this year.) Daemon might be a splendid young man, and his dad must be a cool dude to buy his teenage son a seat on a private company’s first passenger trip into space, but his inclusion invites a discussion about parenting, safety, and privilege that I’m not sure Blue Origin wants to ignite.

In any case, as liftoff approaches, all those issues fade into the excitement of the launch itself. There’s something reliably jaw-dropping about a huge spaceship firing its rockets and ascending to the heavens, and the fact that this was has a Bezos on board (two of them) will make this irresistible to even the most jaded skeptic. It’s also thrilling to see the rocket itself return to Earth and land upright on its launch pad.

At the Blue Origin base 20 miles north of here, the rocket has already been certified for launch and is waiting in a huge hangar called “the barn.” Between the town and the base, a newly constructed “astronaut village”—I’m told the housing evokes the feel of a rustic-style resort—is hosting its first crew. They are completing their two-day training, a total of 14 hours of learning safety procedures, ingress, egress—and yes, how to get back to your seat when descent begins.

Godspeed.



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