On 11-minute trip
Mário Ferreira, boss of various Portuguese companies – most notably Douro Azul shipping, CNN and TVI – blasted off into space this afternoon, becoming the first Portuguese ‘space tourist’ for a sum that has been quoted as €27.5 million.
To be fair, no one knows how much the 54-year-old entrepreneur paid for the 11-minute experience.
Blue Origin, the company owned by tech billionaire Jeff Bezos, that ran it can charge ‘zero’ for a flight, say reports – in cases where the passenger is a major celebrity – or as much as €27.5 million (if they’re not).
Mr Ferreira is certainly not a major celebrity – not even in this country, albeit recently he has been in the news, and he does list himself on Facebook as a “public figure”.
Blue Origin has described him in a tweet today – running through the crew on mission NS-22, as “a Portuguese entrepreneur and investor. A passionate adventurer, Mário has raced the Dakar, run the London Marathon and been a scuba diver since age 20”.
Now he is also one of the world’s first space tourists.
Today’s was the 8th such ‘sub-orbital flight’ run by Blue Origin. It blasted off from a location in the Texas desert, and Mr Ferreira was in good company: Fellow crew members were Egyptian mechanical and biomechanical engineer Sara Sabry, Anglo-American explorer Vanessa O’Brien, tech specialist Clint Kelly III, philanthropist and restaurateur Steve Young and Youtube sporting sensation Coby Cotton.
Such was the speed of the exercise that it blasted off and landed while this text was being put together.
Mr Ferreira told Lusa before he went up that he firmly believes that soon there will be ‘orbital resorts’ in space, for tourism and scientific purposes.
He is so certain of this that he says he is thinking of investing in the aerospace industry, says Lusa.
“This for me is the first flight of what I believe will be the future of trips into space”, he said. “The companies that I have found – including this one – have very interesting programmes underway. They are not science fiction”.
As Mr Ferreira’s social media pages have shown, training for today’s trip was ‘very intense’, preparing passenger’s bodies for the ‘adverse forces’ they felt during the trip.
And to carry out an experiment of his own, Mr Ferreira took with him a bottle of Taylor’s (Douro) port, to see what the combination of g-force and absence of gravity might do to the make-up of the 2003 vintage.
He mentioned to Lusa alterations of colour / taste, possible chemical or molecular alterations…no doubt he will be finding this out now that he is back on planet earth.