Seattle: Jeff Bezos’ rocket company plans to charge passengers about $200,000 to $300,000 for its first trips into space in 2019, two people familiar with its plans were quoted as saying on Friday.
Potential customers and the aerospace industry have been eager to learn the cost of a ticket on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle, to find out if it is affordable and whether the company can generate enough demand to make a profit on space tourism.
The New Shepard is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 100 km above Earth into suborbital space, high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurised capsule returns to earth under parachutes.
The company will do the first test in space of its capsule escape system, which propels the crew to safety should the booster explode, “within weeks”, one of the employees said. -Agencies
Tickets will be sold in 2019
- ￼Executives at the company, started by Amazon.com Inc founder Bezos in 2000, said they will start test flights with passengers soon, and will start selling tickets in 2019.
- ￼The company, based about 32 km south of Seattle, has made public the general design of the vehicle – comprising a launch rocket and detachable passenger capsule.
- ￼Blue Origin representatives did not respond to requests for comment on its programmes and pricing strategy. Bezos said in May ticket prices had not yet been decided.
‘Spaceflight competition is on’
- Blue Origin is working to make civilian space flight an important niche in the global space economy, alongside satellite services and government exploration projects, already worth over $300 billion a year.
- Bezos, one of the world’s richest persons, has competition from Richard Branson and Elon Musk. They are looking to slash cost of spaceflight by developing reusable spacecraft so that launch frequency rises.