Blue Origin Aims to Take Tourists to Space in 2018

Wednesday, 09 March 2016 - 10:51AM
Science News
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 - 10:51AM
Blue Origin Aims to Take Tourists to Space in 2018
The famously secretive space travel company Blue Origin was opened to press for the first time yesterday. This would be exciting enough, but during the unveiling, they made an announcement: if all goes well, the first commercial trips to space will take place in only two years.

Blue Origin, which was founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has quietly become one of the foremost companies for space travel. Last year, they launched their New Shepard rocket and successfully landed it on Earth, becoming the first company to create a reusable rocket. Their competitor, SpaceX, has been vocal about their desire to create reusable rockets, and after several failed attempts, their Falcon 9 rocket finally made a soft landing shortly after Blue Shepard. However, Blue Origin was able to relaunch their New Shepard rocket, thereby proving that their rockets are actually reusable, a feat that SpaceX has not yet achieved.

Now, Blue Origin is setting their sights on commercial ventures, as they're planning to take wealthy tourists into space, approximately 62 miles above Earth's surface. This isn't quite high enough to enter Earth's orbit, but the customers will be able to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of our planet. Bezos announced to press at the unveiling (via Popular Science) that they planned to start crewed test flights in 2017, and if those go well, commercial flights could start as early as 2018. Bezos hasn't started taking deposits yet, but he claims that thousands have already expressed their interest in being the first space tourists.
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