Space enthusiasts will be watching Blue Origin’s first crewed suborbital flight Tuesday that will take American billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos and three crew members to space in an 11-minute trip.
If you happen to be on the Las Vegas Strip, the Branded Cities advertising company will broadcast the historic launch, reentry and landing on an 18,600-square-foot digital billboard at Harmon Corner, a mall at Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.
Liftoff is scheduled for 6 a.m., weather permitting.
“At the end of the day, what appealed to us is the fact we are supporting space exploration,” said Vaibhav Gupta, president of Phoenix-based Branded Cities. “It’s a great day for mankind. To be able to showcase this live or in real time on iconic billboards is something that’s unique.”
Branded Cities will also stream the launch on digital billboards in New York and Toronto. The display will allow Blue Origin to amplify the historic moment through a live video feed, Branded Cities officials said.
“Our assets are strategically located in the places and environments where people gather most, which makes our full-motion digital platform very appropriate for high-impact broadcasts, especially when historic events such as the Blue Origin launch happen,” Steve Ellman, chairman and chief executive officer of Branded Cities, said in a news release.
The rocket-powered craft will take off from a desert site near Van Horn, Texas, and will travel at 2,300 mph to the edge of space before returning to Earth. The crew will travel in Blue Origin’s New Shepard, a 60-foot-tall rocket-and-capsule combo named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space.
In test launches, New Shepard reached above the Kármán line — 62 miles high — between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space that is recognized as the boundary of space.
The mission will be the 16th flight of New Shepard but the first with astronauts aboard.
Blue Origin, a privately funded aerospace manufacturer and space tourism company, was started by Bezos in Washington state in 2000. The goal is to eventually take paying customers to space — at an estimated price of $200,000, according to CBS News.
Bezos’ extraterrestrial journey will happen nine days after fellow billionaire and rocket company entrepreneur Richard Branson took his own trip.
There are some noticeable differences in the spacecraft — Blue Origin is a suborbital rocket; Branson’s Virgin Galactic employed an aerial-launched space plane.
What’s the same is the public interest in the flights, which is why Branded Cities coordinated with Blue Origin for the real-time coverage.
“We have always prided ourselves as a company to be at the forefront of bringing people together using our medium to celebrate humankind’s greatest achievements,” Ellman said.
The Harmon Corner billboard usually features paid advertising from the likes of T-Mobile or Coca-Cola targeting visitors. That will be interrupted for about 11 minutes Tuesday morning for a journey into space.
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity,” Bezos told the Associated Press. “It’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life.”
For the folks at Branded Cities, the chance to share the moment with the masses was too appealing to ignore.
“We reached out to them with the idea,” Gupta said. “They very quickly green-lighted the idea, and we were off to the races. From start to finish, the idea was launched is less than four or five days.”