Blue Origin is quietly winning the race to make space tourism a reality

Blue Origin is quietly winning the race to make space tourism a reality

Space tourism is both exciting and frightening – the idea of experiencing life beyond earth and getting a glimpse of our planet from above is exhilarating but the safety aspect of it all, since tourists won’t be astronauts, makes me a little nervous.

When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced that his company, Blue Origin, would be making space tourism a reality, he joined a list of companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic that are aiming to do the same. Richard Branson only recently revealed the spaceship his company will use to ferry people beyond the earth’s atmosphere in the future.

However, Bezos may have pipped them both to the post as he told reporters this week that he’s expecting the first tourist trip to space to happen as early as 2018, according to The New York Times. Some publications have reported that Bezos said 2017, which would be exciting, but also seems a bit too soon.

Companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX mark a shift in the space business from public to private. While SpaceX has been very public about its trials and tribulations, Bezos’ company remained tight-lipped until recently about its efforts.

Blue Origin revealed last month that it had done what SpaceX has failed to do – re-launch and land its New Shepard rocket after initially landing it back on earth for the first time in November last year.

However, according to the reports, Bezos said he didn’t care about being the first private company to make space tourism a reality because safety is the main priority when you’re planning on sending over 600 non-astronauts into space every year.

Once the testing of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket goes well, flights will carry six passengers at a time into space where they can experience weightlessness and get a glimpse of the earth they just left. At 100 km above our home planet, passengers will be beyond the internationally recognized edge of space.

Blue Origin space tours will be ticketed but the company hasn’t revealed how much it will cost just yet. For reference, Virgin Galactic, which has sold tickets in advance of its maiden space tours, is charging people $250,000. So you should probably start saving now just to be on the safe side.

➤ Jeff Bezos Lifts Veil on His Rocket Company, Blue Origin [The New York Times]

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