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Billionaire Sir Richard Branson took the lead and flew into space on Sunday, July 11, ahead of Jeff Bezos, but not quite up to the Amazon founder Image: BRENDAN MCDERMID / REUTERS

Understand what is the Karman Line, the new frontier between Bezos and Branson in the billionaire space race

RIO – Since Britain’s Richard Branson became the first of three billionaire champions The current space race travels to spaceOn Sunday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos questioned the competitor’s achievement.

Bezos subsidiary Blue Origin used its Twitter account to point out that “only 4% of the world recognizes the 80km minimum space as a starting point.”

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It was a reference to the fact that the Virgin Galactic Branson spacecraft’s flight reached a maximum altitude of 86 kilometers above sea level, more than 80 kilometers that in the United States is considered the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.

However, the International Aeronautics Federation (FIA) has set this limit at an altitude of one hundred kilometers, a mark that Bezos vows to exceed on the flight that will take its founder on board the next 20th day.

Artistic publication image: O GLOBO
Artistic publication image: O GLOBO
Artistic publication image: O GLOBO
Artistic publication image: O GLOBO

This point is called the Karmann line, in reference to Hungarian-American aeronautical engineer Theodor von Karmann, who devoted himself to studying the volume of the atmosphere in the 1950s.

“The new Shepard missile (the Bezos missile) flies over both limits. One of the many advantages of flying with Blue Origin),” says the script used by competitor Virgin Galactic, of Branson.

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Despite fueling the commercial dispute between the two companies, there is no international agreement on it.

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Artistic publication image: O GLOBO
Artistic publication image: O GLOBO
Artistic publication image: O GLOBO
Artistic publication image: O GLOBO

The atmosphere becomes thinner the further away from sea level we are. Since it is not possible to say where it ends, the US space agency, NASA, has ruled this boundary at 80 kilometers. But international aviation, adopted by most countries, maintained an altitude of one hundred kilometers.

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Bezos clung to this difference in an attempt to downplay Branson’s trip, preventing it from obscuring the Amazon founder’s trip that would take place in a few days.

But from a scientific point of view, the issue is not relevant, since the two flights can be considered suborbital, that is, they reached space and the state of weightlessness.

In 2018, the FIA ​​itself opened a dialogue with experts about the possibility of reducing the Karmann line to 80 kilometers, as NASA did, in the light of scientific analyzes recognized as valid in this direction.

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Although studies have located this boundary between 80 and 100 kilometers, there is scientific evidence that terrestrial gases can be found more than 600 kilometers from the Earth’s surface. In this case, none of the billionaires will be able to approach the so-called frontier of outer space.