Jeff Bezos led Blue Origin will launch a spacecraft with people on board on the day a solar storm will hit Earth, NASA data showed. Notably, Elon Musk lost 40 satellites to a solar storm.
It is nothing short of a shocking face-off between a dangerous solar storm and Jeff Bezos, with lives of people at stake! Blue Origin, the aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company led by Jeff Bezos, is set for its fourth crewed flight on Thursday, March 31st. Earlier the launch was scheduled for March 29, but due to high winds and ground weather conditions, the launch was postponed till Thursday. But with this move, amazingly, Bezos has decided to actually challenge space weather as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that a G2 class solar storm will hit Earth on the same day. It remains to be seen whether the decision was the right one as last month SpaceX CEO Elon Musk lost 40 of his satellites to a similar solar storm. The data from NASA shows that the solar storm set to hit the Earth on March 31st is a G2 class solar storm, which is not the strongest geomagnetic storm out there, but can still cause some damage. The New Shepherd ship is a manned mission and will carry six passengers aboard the ship.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin challenges solar storm
On Monday, Blue Origin announced that it has delayed the launch of it spacecraft. It posted on Twitter, “#NS20 is now scheduled for launch on Thursday, March 31. #NewShepard Mission Operations has successfully completed Flight Readiness Review and weather is the only remaining factor to get to launch”. While the company decided to delay the flight for weather disturbances, it seems all set to pick a fight with space weather.
There is a fear that if the Blue Origin spacecraft comes directly in contact with the radiation from the geomagnetic storm, it can affect the navigation system of the space vehicle.
The NOAA has confirmed that the G2 class geomagnetic storms like the one expected on Thursday can cause “increased biological risk to astronauts or passengers and crew in high latitude, high altitude flights”.
Elon Musk remains a testament to how scary these solar storm events can be. In early February, SpaceX launched 49 starlink satellites in the lower orbit of the Earth. But a day after its deployment, a geomagnetic storm destroyed 40 of the satellites and they burned and crashed on the surface of the Earth. With a more critical mission with humans on-board, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has a higher reason to ensure safety for its flight. It remains to be seen whether the geomagnetic storm can affect the flight.