A local astronomer’s quest to fly out of this world

Michael Knowles, an Astronomer from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, couldn’t miss the opportunity to bid for a place to fly aboard the Blue Origin space capsule. Here’s what he said:

The 5th of May 2021 marked an inaugural world civilian opportunity. A bidding platform was devised for people from all walks of life to bid a price to attain a seat on board the Blue Origin New Shepard space capsule for its first flight carrying passengers.

Financially sourced by American aerospace company, Jeff Bezos billionaire has instigated using its own engineer rocket specialists to develop a reusable passenger space vehicle. This will materialise a new era for civilians to embark into the realms of space travel.

After I managed to attain a chance Concorde transatlantic flight 2003 prior to its demise later that year. Skimming the Earth’s atmosphere at 59,000ft at Mach 2 was surreal. Also witnessing in 1981 the first Space shuttle launch of Columbia and Atlantis the last Space shuttle launch 2011 at Cape Canaveral Florida, ingrained and further entrenched my thoughts, vision and quest no matter how great or small to procure a space trip. I couldn’t miss the chance to try.

I submitted increasing bids over several weeks, and with every bid i imagined myself at the launch site. Not knowing who was your opponent’s from around the world or how much the next counter bid would be, was like a chess game. At the final stage of bidding 20 millionairs sent the price rocketing into space. The winning bid was $28 million Dollars.

The Blue Origin sub-orbital flight ascent site was West Texas US 2.4 min burn to 351,210ft- 66 miles altitude above the Karmen line of space. Passengers experienced 3.3G’s before the New Shepard space capsule is released from a return reusable rocket system. After 4 min of weightlessness decent phase parachute deployment and short 5G’s deceleration totals a journey approx of 11min. On July 20th 2021 the world watched Blue Origin successfully blast off carrying 4 civilians to space. On board with Jeff Bezos was is brother Mark Bezos and the oldest and youngest persons to go into space 82 years old Wally funk and 18 year old Oliver Daemen.

To have been amonst just only 7600 people in the world from 159 countries who engaged and made a bid is in its self out of this world and a privilege to have done. Makes the unsuccess less disappointing. Engaging with the Blue Origin astronaut team on technical questions on the Shepard craft during my bidding phases brought home this was a reality.

With Sir Richard Branson successful Virgin Galactic crewed flight 9 days before Jeff Bezos maiden flight, this with other private sourced space companies making grounds in this domain will decrease passenger costs in the future.

Challenges in any shape or form is part of life’s quests to succeed.

– Michael Knowles, Mansfield, Nottingjamshire

Nottingham Local News