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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will blast into space today on his rocket's first crewed mission.
The 57-year-old billionaire will be joined by his brother Mark, 53, physics student Oliver Daemon, 18, and 82-year-old Wally Funk.
The 'space misfits' will be aboard Mr Bezos's rocket the New Shepard, which was named after the first American in space Alan Shepard.
The spacecraft was built by Mr Bezos's company Blue Origin and will serve the growing market for space tourism.
The flight will launch from the West Texas desert and travel more than 62 miles into orbit, which is considered the demarcating line of space.
It will beat Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight, which reached 53.3 miles on July 11.
Here is all you need to know about the mission:
Jeff Bezos will blast into space on his New Shepard rocket at around 2pm today
(Image: Chuck Bigger/Space Symposium via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock)
When is lift-off?
The launch is scheduled for 8am Central Daylight Time (CDT), which means people will be able to watch it live at 2pm in the UK.
A livestream of the event is due to start before take-off at around 6.30am CDT.
US broadcasters will be airing the live launch on YouTube and you can watch it on NBC News here.
Who are the crew?
Oliver Daemon, a Dutch student, will become the youngest person to reach space when they shoot into orbit later today.
He is the son of financier Joes Daemen, founder and CEO of the private equity firm Somerset Capital Partners.
The billionaire will fly into space with his sibling Mark, student Oliver Daemon and Wally Funk
His dad placed the undisclosed second highest bid to join the mission.
Oliver got the spot after the £20.25 million winning bidder postponed.
Meanwhile Wally Funk was part of the “Mercury 13” group of women who went through similar astronaut training as the males on the Mercury 7 mission in 1959.
They never made it to space, but Wally will now be the oldest person there.
Whereas Mark Bezos is the Amazon founder's brother, who owns his own private equity firm and also volunteers as a fireman.
Observer Alan Turner said of the crew: “It truly is a bunch of space misfits. Good luck to them I say.”
Oliver Daemon is a Dutch physics student whose dad bought him a ticket for the flight
(Image: Blue Origin/REX/Shutterstock)
Is it risky?
Around 1% of human spaceflights have resulted in deaths, however it is hoped the New Shepard crew will be safe.
The trip should only take 11 minutes, minimising the chance of something going wrong.
The New Shepard has already performed 15 launches and Blue Origin engineers have confirmed the craft does not have any issues.
Chief engineer Chris Jaeger added: “The vehicles are ready to fly.
"There are no engineering or technical issues.”
The New Shepard has already performed 15 flights
(Image: Blue Origin/REX/Shutterstock)
Mr Bezos added: "We really believe this flight is safe – I had friends say to me, 'How about the second flight or the third flight, why do you have to go on the first flight?' and the point is that we know the vehicle's safe
"If the vehicle is not safe for me, it's not safe for anyone.
"We have never raced. We have taken this one step at a time, we're ready."
How are the crew feeling?
Mr Bezos said he is 'excited' about the inaugural manned flight of his spacecraft.
He added: "I know it's going to change me and I'm excited to find out how.
Mr Bezos has insisted the craft is safe and that he is 'excited' for the launch
"We’ve been practising full missions in New Shepard’s training simulator. Can’t wait for lift-off.
“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."
Ms Funk said: "I can't tell people how fabulous I feel to have been picked by Blue Origin to go on this trip.
"I can hardly wait."
Mr Daemen said: "I am super excited to go into space and join them on the flight."