Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report Founder and Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos is ready for his Tuesday flight to space, about a week after fellow entrepreneur Richard Branson made the trip to low-Earth orbit space.
Bezos's Blue Origin space-flight startup will blast him and three other space tourists 66 miles above Earth in a fully autonomous rocket and capsule.
"We'll be building a road to space for the next generation to do amazing things, and those amazing things will improve things here on Earth," Bezos said at a news conference at Launch Site One in Van Horn, Texas. "We really believe this flight is safe."
Bezos is going to space with his brother Mark; Mary Wallace Funk, an aviation pioneer who at 82 will be the oldest person to go into space; and Oliver Daemen, who at 18 will be the youngest person to ever go into space.
Daemen will replace the anonymous $28 million winner of Blue Origin's auction, who chose a later mission due to scheduling conflicts, according to Blue Origin.
While Branson beat Bezos into space, Bezos's flight will travel 66 miles above Earth, 13 miles higher than Branson's flight went.
"I did have friends say, 'Why not wait for the second or third flight? Why do you have to go now?'" Bezos said.
"But we know the vehicle is safe, and if it's not safe for me, then it's not safe for anyone. But we've taken this one step at a time; our mascot is the tortoise. ... We are ready,"