How Risky Is It to Send Jeff Bezos to the Edge of Space?

Today’s commercial spacecraft have a safety advantage, thanks to simpler designs and suborbital missions. But with rockets, nothing is certain.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson have been working for the past 20 years to get their companies’ rockets built and launched. Now both are preparing to suit up and ride their own spacecraft. Bezos announced on Monday that he’ll blast off July 20 on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, riding to the limit of Earth’s atmosphere. Meanwhile, Branson is expected to fly this summer on the Virgin Galactic VSS Unity rocket plane to the same zone.

The rich-guy space race between Bezos and Branson (SpaceX’s

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