by Kristin Houser via futurism.com
PACK YOUR BAGS. An executive for Blue Origin says the aerospace company will begin selling tickets for suborbital space flights in 2019, according to a report bySpace News. Senior Vice President Rob Meyerson delivered the news during a keynote speech at Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The flights will be aboard New Shepard, a rocket Blue Origin first started testing in 2015. Those tests will soon include passengers, according to Meyerson.
START SAVING… PROBABLY? So, that’s what we know. What we don’t know? Pretty much anything else. Meyerson didn’t drop any hints as to what New Shepard tickets will get passengers (An hour in space? A day?). He also didn’t say what they’d pay for the privilege, but that might be because he simply doesn’t know — back in May, Blue Origin (and Amazon) CEO Jeff Bezos told GeekWire the company was still trying to figure out what to charge for New Shepard tickets.
AHEAD OF THE CROWD. Blue Origin isn’t alone in attempting to break into the space tourism market — SpaceX, Orion Span, and Axiom Space are just a few of the other companies vying for a piece of the space tourism pie. It also isn’t the first company to announce the sale of tickets — Virgin Galactic began selling tickets back in 2013 at $200,000 a pop (later raised to $250,000); as of May 2017, 650 people had put down deposits. Five years later, though, and those flights haven’t yet happened.
As we’ve seen from Virgin Galactic, selling tickets isn’t necessarily an indication that a company is just about ready for take off. Still, if Blue Origin is ready to test New Shepard with passengers aboard, it must be feeling pretty confident about the craft — which means the company might just be the first to launch us into the era of commercial space travel.