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A Blue Origin rocket takes flight. Photo: Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos and three other passengers are set to fly to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard Tuesday.

Why it matters: It will be the company's first launch with people aboard and the start of a new stage for Blue Origin, which is trying to beef up its customer base for these suborbital flights.

What's happening: The New Shepard is expected to take flight at around 9 a.m. ET carrying Bezos, his brother Mark, aviator Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old and the company's first paying customer.

  • A webcast showcasing the launch will begin on Blue Origin's website at 7:30 a.m. ET.

How it works: Blue Origin's passengers will be loaded into the New Shepard capsule stacked atop a rocket.

  • During launch, the capsule will be rocketed to about 62 miles above the Earth where the passengers will feel minutes of weightlessness and be able to see the planet against the blackness of space before descending back to the surface under parachutes.
  • This capsule and rocket have flown two successful flight tests before.

The big picture: Blue Origin isn't the only company looking to capitalize on the suborbital spaceflight market.

  • Virgin Galactic flew its founder Richard Branson and other passengers earlier this month.
  • If all goes according to plan, Blue Origin says it will look to launch two more human missions this year.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 26, 2021 - Science

Space industry continues its growth in 2021

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The space industry continued to grow in the third quarter of 2021, according to a new report from the Space Foundation.

Why it matters: The investments will fuel the future of the space industry, which Bank of America says could reach $1.4 trillion by 2030.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.