‘Dad’s going up in a rocket;’ French man set for launch

WASHINGTON   -   He arrived in Texas, tried on his flight suit for the first time, and is now preparing to live out his childhood dream. On Sunday, French entrepreneur Sylvain Chiron will board a Blue Origin rocket and blast off into space, joining the select group of humans who have ventured beyond Earth’s bounds. “I never thought I’d get to do this,” the 52-year-old, who hails from the mountainous southeastern region of Savoy, told AFP in an interview two days before his adventure. “We’re going to be astronauts for 15 minutes, so a bit like pretend astronauts, but astronauts nonetheless.” Blue Origin’s spaceflights are brief hops just beyond the edge of space and back again -- but still allow passengers to admire the curve of the Earth while free floating during a few minutes of weightlessness.

In all, the Jeff Bezos-owned enterprise has flown 31 humans to space on its New Shepard suborbital rocket system. Sunday’s mission, the first with crew after a two-year pause, will see six people soar beyond the Karman Line, the internationally recognized boundary of space, 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level.  “This morning, I put on my flight suit for the first time -- my wife found me very handsome as an astronaut,” Chiron joked on the phone, as he prepared for a day of training including a flight simulator.

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