Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin will start its space tourism ticket sales starting next year.
The Amazon CEO’s space capsule will not feature either bathrooms or vomit bags for passengers.
Space Tourism Sales
Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos’s space tourism startup, Blue Origin, has announced its intention to start selling passenger tickets as of next year. This means that consumers who want to travel to space can buy their tickets in 2019.
This timeline was revealed by the company’s senior vice president Rob Meyerson, who commented at an Amazon Web Services event. That said, Meyerson did not provide any detail as to specifically when the tickets would start selling or how much they will cost. Bezos stated in April that in is in our interest to start creating a moon colony as part of the next space exploration and industry development.
Crewed Test Flights
Blue Origin intends to begin conducting test flights that include a human crew in its New Shepard rocket. The announcement stated that those tests will start “soon.” This indicates that the space tourism company may move ahead of its rival SpaceX, in that specific category.
At the moment, Blue Origin’s ambitions aren’t quite as aggressive as Elon Musk’s SpaceX. While mainly busy with Tesla, his other company just landed a significant military contract for its new rocket, the Falcon Heavy. When compared to that rocket, the New Shepard is tiny. In fact, it’s even very small next to the older Falcon 9. Furthermore, the New Shepard is designed for a notably lower maximum altitude than SpaceX’s rockets. Blue Orbit’s rockets reach only suborbital altitudes.
Creating a New Market
The main task for SpaceX for the last while and into the near future is transporting supplies into space. For instance, it has sent satellites into orbit and has brought shipments of supplies to the International Space Station. On the other hand, New Shepard’s purpose will be quite different. It is meant to work as a passenger experience that will allow space tourists to view the Earth in a whole new way for around four minutes.
As Blue Origin test flights start including crews, this will represent a significant leap forward for all of commercial spaceflight. In fact, it may also be an important step ahead in space exploration. The last time NASA launched a crew into space was in 2011, on the last mission involving one of its Space Shuttles. That agency is now working on creating a new form of vehicle to hold a crew.
Back in the private market, SpaceX has stated that it will also be testing missions with crews in 2018. That said, even though it has seen a number of promising successes recently, it isn’t impossible for that deadline to be pushed back. Boeing has also announced intentions to achieve space flight with a crewed vehicle, but has not launched a timeline publicly.