Ever, if all goes as planned, the 10 minute flight will make history the first unpiloted sub orbital flight with a civilian crew. It is very exciting joining us now to talk more about this privately funded space. Race is former astronaut mike massimino. Thank you for joining us. Talk about the significance of what we’re going to see tomorrow and compare it also to what we saw with virgin galactic well uh, christine alex thanks very much for having me um. The significance of it is. This is the first time that blue origin, a company that’s, been in business for a while, has had 15 uh test flight successful test flights with this rocket ship new shepard. This is the first time we’re going to put people inside. This is the first time for this company to ever launch people into space as far as what’s different between richard branson’s uh virgin galactic spaceship, and this one uh his richard richard branson’s, took off uh from a runway with the mother. Ship was dropped from the mother ship and then made its way to space with the with the space plane and it with the space spaceship and then came back and landed on a runway. This one with jeff bezos it’s, going to be a launch from a launch pad. The rocket booster will separate at a very high altitude, while the spaceship continues into space that booster comes back and lands about two miles away in the same area.

The same launch pad area and then that same spaceship will then come down by parachute and land differently, because there’s no there’s, no runway there’s. Also no pilots on board. Richard branson had very well trained test pilots on board. I know just about all of them. I think, including cj stir cow former nasa astronaut over there virgin galactic. This won’t be necessary with richard bran, with jeff bezos’s spacecraft, it’s, all automated, as you said, he’s going to get in they’ll be launched. They won’t have to do anything except enjoy the ride. There’S, probably some emergency training that they’ll go through, but but nothing like like you would need to land on a runway like the virgin galactic ship, so it’s been uh it’s been tested a few times. The new shepherd has and i’m expecting a successful launch for those uh for those who enjoy the ride. That’S great yeah. Well, we know that uh amazon is pretty into the automation, so that extends yeah. I know they sure depends on this as well. You know so you spent 260 hours in space yourself, they’re going to be up there for just a few minutes. Uh you’ve been in the international space station you’ve also gotten to check out this blue origin. Capsule spend some time inside of it yourself to see what it’s like um, what is it like, and how does it compare to some of the stuff that you’ve done well they’re only going up there, for i just said 11 minutes or so so, and i you Know i’m, a professor at columbia.

I teach space flight courses. I you know the the size of the spaceship is really dependent on the length of the mission. So my friends on the space station they’re up there for six months. They have a lot of room up there. You know about the volume that you would have inside of a 747. The space shuttle was kind of like two small rooms. We were there for two weeks so to be up there for 11 minutes. You don’t really need a lot of room uh, but the the most of that area is taken up by the windows it from what i remember what i’ve seen in the pictures, so it’s it’s meant for people to enjoy the view on that 11 minute. Ride is really optimized for comfort safety and enjoying the view float around a little bit and it’s also a precursor to what’s, going to come. After for blue origin. They have an orbital vehicle, uh being planned, called uh new glenn. They are hoping to also develop and they are developing a lunar for the lunar lander to land on the moon. So this is kind of that. First step that they’re making let’s talk about space tourism and the rest of us. We know the 18 year old is going because of an auction where they paid 28 million dollars, but space tourism. How realistic is that for us? Well, i i think that’s what you’re seeing i think people have different reasons to go.

You know i really wanted to be a career nasa astronaut. I did that job for 18 years flew a couple of times in space and most of that time, that i spent and with that job, the vast majority of it was on the planet but that’s the job i wanted, and i was lucky enough to be able To do it that way, other people are going to want to go for research reasons for or to ways of awareness for for different causes. I think maybe to represent some countries that have never been to space before there’s a possibility that that that’ll happen. I think and and then there’s those who just want to experience the thrill of going i’m going up there and taking a chance to see the sun in a black sky and look at the the thinness of the atmosphere and the beauty of the planet and experience. Weightlessness, so i think it’s all there. I think there’s going to this – opens it up in the possibilities for for everybody who wants to go right now, it’s, really expensive, that’s going to be the one limiting factor. I think, which is a pretty big limiting factor, but hopefully that price will come down all right. Is there part of you, though, that spent 18 years training that dedicated your life to this and that these people go up there for a few minutes and call themselves a quote? Unquote astronaut? Is there a part of you that’s like seriously man, i mean i mean it’s different, you know, i think what it is is that the government doesn’t own the title astronaut anymore.

When they did. You know the first astronauts were american, were americans, and then there was other uh countries and their astronauts as well and uh. You know the cosmonauts from russia, so that was kind of typified the profession. You know i don’t know if they’re gon na have different categories of it, but uh they certainly can get yourself into space, no matter how you do it. You certainly deserve astronaut wings and maybe there’s going to be different categories of astronauts, but i really don’t. I am so uh thrilled for them and so fortunate and grateful for the opportunities i was given to be a nasa astronaut and and represent the country. In that way, i i’ve. No, i can’t have any resentment of anyone else going absolutely not well. We love what you’ve done. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us today, we’re going to be all watching tomorrow morning. Thank you and thank you for the service for our country.