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Ahead of Bezos flight, Blue Origin gains license for human space travel

FILE PHOTO: Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos unveils his space company Blue Origin's space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon during an unveiling event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos unveils his space company Blue Origin's space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon during an unveiling event in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo (REUTERS)

Blue Origin is authorized to carry humans while its FAA license is valid through August and is approved to conduct these missions from its Launch Site One facility in Texas.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Monday it approved a Blue Origin license to carry humans on the New Shepard launch system into space.

Former Amazon.com founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space on Blue Origin's maiden crewed voyage on July 20. 

Blue Origin is authorized to carry humans while its FAA license is valid through August and is approved to conduct these missions from its Launch Site One facility in Texas, the agency confirmed.

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Blue Origin was required to verify its launch vehicle's hardware and software worked safely during a test flight and the FAA confirmed it met regulatory requirements.

Blue Origin's flight will come a little over a week after space-tourism rival Virgin Galactic successfully sent a crew including its founder, British billionaire Richard Branson, to the edge of space.

Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, as well as the space firm founded by rival billionaire Elon Musk, are working to usher in a new era of routine commercial civilian space travel in what has been popularized as the "billionaire space race."

Proving rocket travel is safe for the public is key to developing what the Swiss-based investment bank UBS estimates will be a $3 billion annual space tourism market in a decade.

Virgin Galactic's suborbital journey on Sunday kicked off the competition for the future of space tourism. Branson and Virgin Galactic beat Bezos and Blue Origin to space by nine days, when Bezos is scheduled to fly on a rocket made by his space venture.

  •  With inputs from HT Correspondent

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