If you’re aching to go flying through space onboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle, you’ll be able to purchase your ticket as early as next year, reports Space News.
According to the media outlet, Blue Origin Senior Vice President Rob Meyerson announced on June 19 that the company is getting ready to sign up customers for suborbital flights.
These crewed suborbital flights will be made with New Shepard 2.0, the latest version of the spacecraft named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard. The previous model was retired in 2016, after launching a series of cargo missions in two consecutive years.
“We plan to start flying our first test passengers soon,” Meyerson said at the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit in Washington.
“We expect to start selling tickets in 2019,” revealed Meyerson, although he was stingy with the details and failed to mention how much a space ride on the New Shepard would set us back financially.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos, who owns Blue Origin, has been equally tight-lipped about the prospective cost of a ticket on the New Shepard.
“We don’t know the ticket price yet. We haven’t decided,” Bezos pointed out at the International Space Development Conference of the National Space Society, held in Los Angeles on May 25.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) June 22, 2018
Discussing the development status of the New Shepard 2.0, Blue Origin chief executive Bob Smith said in April that the company will make a decision on the ticket prices once the spacecraft is “ready to fly.”
“We continue to be head down on making sure the configuration is good and stable and ready to fly. Once we all feel confident that that’s the case, then we’ll have the conversation internally about what prices are and what that whole process looks like.”
Nevertheless, Gizmodo shows that a suborbital ride on the New Shepard is estimated to rake up between $50,000 and $250,000 per seat.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, the New Shepard vehicle is designed to carry as much as six passengers at a time and will be ferrying paying customers to suborbital space, leading the way for Blue Origin’s future space tourism flights.
The spacecraft has recently aced its eighth flight test, soaring higher than ever before. On April 29, New Shepard reached an altitude of almost 66 miles, exceeding the altitude widely accepted as the boundary line for space, also known as the Kármán line (62 miles, or around 330,000 feet).
Blue Origin expects to start flying people on its New Shepard suborbital vehicle “soon” and begin selling tickets for commercial flights next year, a company executive said this week. https://t.co/ukJrlUOJ6A pic.twitter.com/VUBPr2yfRT
— SpaceNews (@SpaceNews_Inc) June 22, 2018
So far, the only passenger on board the New Shepard has been Mannequin Skywalker, Blue Origin’s test dummy, which got to try out the spacecraft’s crew capsule on two separate flights, as reported by the Inquisitr.
But the company is planning on flying its personnel during the later tests of the New Shepard, the next of which is slated to take place this summer.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin has even put together an animated video, which you can watch below and which reveals what it’s like to fly onboard the New Shepard and take in the space scenery from on of the vehicle’s six large windows.
According to Gizmodo, the spacecraft’s crew capsule is quite spacious and has an interior of 530 square feet — 10 times larger than NASA’s Mercury capsule. Those fortunate enough to afford a ticket will have the chance to see unique views of our planet from space and will even get to experience weightlessness once the New Shepard goes beyond the Kármán line.
The reusable rocket is powered by a single BE-3 engine, which can drum up 110,000 pounds of thrust, and will return to Earth via parachute-assisted landing for a touch down in the Texas desert.