In a step that gets us closer to commercial space travel, Jeff Bezos’ Space venture project “Blue Origin” announced in a video that it will soon begin selling tickets for rides on its space tourism rocket “New Shepard”.
Though the announcement didn’t reveal how much tickets will cost, the company’s website did say this: “Sign up to learn how you can buy the very first seat on New Shepard”, and Come May fifth, those who submitted their name and email on a form on the company’s website will get more information.
Bezos previously lost the lunar contract which is now in dispute, but despite that setback the company had a successful test flight in early April.
The New Shepard rocket is designed to carry up to six people at a time on a ride past the edge of space giving the passengers nearly 10 minutes of zero gravity. The capsule has massive windows to give passengers quite the view before returning to Earth. Previous capsules test flights launched vertically and reached an altitude of roughly 340,000 feet (or more than 100 km). The capsule then returns using a set of parachutes and lands in the desert.
After the Blue Origin announcement, Virgin Galactic shares fell over 3%. Bezos’ company will compete with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in the niche space sector of suborbital tourism.
Virgin Galactic sold roughly 600 tickets to date with the price varying between $200,000 and $250,000 each ticket. Bezos previously mentioned that Blue Origin will price New Shepard flights similarly to competitors. Virgin Galactic did say that prices could increase substantially for the first commercial flights, and emphasized expectations of demand for space tourism flights to outpace supply within the next decade.
It’ll be interesting to see where everything lands once this industry really takes off. From what goes up, to what comes down, subscribe to our Flight Crew Newsletter for the latest updates and news in the space industry.